Recently there has been some excitement on the internet about the Liberty collection at Uniqlo. Before I start on my review of the offer here are three disclaimers:
- Liberty is my favourite shop
- I generally dislike Liberty prints because they are muted colours, too ditsy (small), and expensive
- I do like Liberty prints that are stronger colours and larger prints
- I really like Uniqlo clothes especially for keeping warm in
Some of the early information looked promising. Nice big prints in bright colours. So I was excited, particularly as Uniqlo items are generally much more keenly priced than Liberty themselves. We live near Oxford Street so I went to the flagship store last week when the clothes first came in. There were lots of shoppers milling around, turning the T shirts overs, unfolding the culotte-shorts, shaking shirts open. And a few harassed sales girls refolding in double-quick time.
I held the poster aloft.
Have you got anything in these colours?
I said, pointing to the background. The “background” was used as wallpaper on columns in that part of the shop. The young woman looked confused.
No, it’s just the background.
She pointed at some light, dreary, greyish items. Muted pastels.
So here is what you could have actually got. Look at the clothes, not the wall paper. I know some people will like the traditional prints but to me it was oh so disappointing. They look like Pyjamas – pale and uninteresting. And the slippers – I wouldn’t wear them if they were free on an aeroplane.
There was one item that was brighter – gilets and jackets in pink or blue. I might wear a gilet (probably not), but if I did I don’t think I would reverse it and wear the pattern on the outside. The only thing I was tempted by was the nylon bag that the gilets came in.
You have always been able to buy Liberty print blouses and other items in Liberty. I was hoping that Uniqlo – the modern, innovative,Japanese company might have created something a bit more edgy or youthful. There are surely some amazing, fabulous prints in the archive collection – some of the “background” prints are super. Maybe Liberty only let Uniqlo use their most boring, instantly recognisable prints because they wanted everyone to well, recognise them. Wasted opportunity.
Pity. The wallpaper’s great. BTW Shaukat for cheaper Liberty prints.
Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your sewing adventures!
Being from Melbourne where UniQlo is a recent arrival, I was excited to receive their newsletter today announcing the arrival of their Liberty London collaboration next week. I’m a lifelong fan of Liberty, particularly because of the quality of the fabric and the boldness of their colours, although I wouldn’t wear many of the patterns myself as they can sometimes be quite dowdy and dull en masse.
But before I could look at their website I was called away on domestic matters, and on my return I ended up reading your blog first…in which you broke my bubble of excitement 🙁 so I went to their website to have a look at what was on offer; I was very disappointed to see the styles and patterns on the t-shirts were incredibly old fashioned, there were no women’s shirts and some of the items advertised were ‘not available’. Such a half-hearted attempt at promoting two great brands. As you say, it’s a wasted opportunity.
I didn’t need to look at the website – the top poster said it all: dreary colours and great wallpaper. I’m relieved I haven’t missed out on anything special!
Yes, it’s very easy to make Liberty fabrics into standard old-fashioned tops and skirts. I wonder why they bothered? I would much prefer the larger brighter prints with more impact. The quality of Liberty lawn though, is superb, and feels like silk.
When will they enter the 21st century and make their fabrics come alive? Drab and boring is not enough to get folks to spend their money, is it? Love the wallpaper!!!
I’d never heard of UniQlo, but then, I don’t really go shopping for clothes at all any more. Looks like a right swizz! Now back to my sewing…
Glad you called it as you see it.
Liberty won’t change until their product languishes on the shelves.
Apparently, they have a large enough customer base who only buys the brand.
What I like about Liberty fabric is the quality – so smooth and doesn’t wrinkle with travel. That said, most of the prints don’t suit me at all, as I’m not a little flowers sort of a gal. What I like is the Art Deco-influenced prints. A few years ago, before I started sewing again, J Crew in the US had a bunch of shirts that were made with some of the bolder Liberty prints. I bought a few and still like one in particular (in dark blues and greens). That said, I find that J Crew garment quality has diminished greatly in recent years and so I don’t look at them anymore. Actually, I haven’t bought any ready-to- wear this year at all, given my sewing plans.
PS With apologies that I haven’t provided any Brussels tips. I sent an email to Gianni asking him to talk to his sister if she’s not too distressed, but he hasn’t sent me anything so I’m not sure what’s going on. His connection is not that great though and he doesn’t have a smartphone, so that could be the reason. Hope the exhibition is great. I would say that any of the great chocolatiers would be on my list! I seem to remember Neuhaus as being wonderful, especially around Easter, but I don’t know if they are considered to be the best. I also like the art gallery. For fabric I have no idea unfortunately, but someone must have tips.
I have a love/hate thing with both Liberty and Uniqlo, so the part where I actually bought some of the pieces really is pretty surprising.
Got a couple of the mens shirts for my slender men who have been asking for similar from them.
I am grateful the more interesting prints are harder to get, as I would be hoarding them and that’s the road to trouble. I can skip the ditsy. What is really funny to me is that my son and my husband are really excited about the shirts. And now I will have to look at those damn prints. Oh well. The things a mother puts up with….
Agreed the wallpaper is fab. So vivid and fun.
An opportunity missed.
Last week, I popped into the Oxford Street store. While I find I can always rely on getting a few pieces there – nice quality and reasonably priced, the Liberty collection left me cold. Agree with all your points, Kate. Strongly suspect there will be rails and rails of this in the sales.