After 10 years, Jil Sander collaborates again with Uniqlo

JIL SANDER is back for a Uniqlo collaboration after almost 10 years after her last one. The German fashion designer best known for her stark lines and Euro-flavored minimalism, started collaborating with the Japanese clothing firm in 2009 after she opened a fashion consultancy. Uniqlo’s parent, Fast Retailing, signed on as its first client, coming up with a line called +J. The revived collaboration is now available in the Philippines.

A press release clarifies that “+J is a collaboration between Uniqlo and designer Jil Sander personally and it is not affiliated with the Jil Sander brand or design house.” This is due to its founder departing after the company itself changed hands many times, after it went public in the 1990s (the Prada Group had been one of its many owners).

The +J collection was introduced earlier this month via a styling session and video launch. None other than former Vogue creative director Grace Coddington appeared in the pre-recorded video. “It goes backwards and forwards, I think; my thoughts about fashion since COVID. I sincerely hope people won’t just continue to walk around in track pants forever, because that would be very boring. I think what Jil excels at is she keeps coming back at us. That is something I really admire,” she said. Meanwhile, Carla Sozzani, the founder of the chic dining and shopping complex 10 Corso Como, said in Italian, “An individual’s characteristics are more important than femininity, and fashion shouldn’t conceal one’s characteristics. It should enhance them without destroying it. Jil is the first person to achieve this.”

Zooming into the collection reveals excellently woven fabrics with a severity of form akin to military uniforms. The men’s button-downs have nipped collars reluctant to flare, while some don’t even have collars — a bit like mandarin collars without the fuss. The similarly severe coats have an almost monastic strictness to them, displaying high collars, cowl-like hoods and such. This severity is toned down by the looseness in fit, manifesting in folds that seem to cocoon the wearer. The women’s lines are a bit softer: the stark lines are toned down with details like pussy bows.

Stylist Pam Quiñones, who facilitated the styling session, described the sort of person who would crave the +J look: “I think more than anything, it’s people who want a very uncluttered lifestyle. They want pieces that almost have an idea of an attractive stylish uniform, so that it makes their lives easier.”

Jil Sander said in a release, “I set out to define the global modern uniform with this in mind: Clothes should be long-lasting and enduring. They should serve the wearer and give her or him the energy and self-assurance which is so much needed in our global reality.” — J.L. Garcia

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