Exclusive: UNIQLO & Toray, The Art and Science of LifeWear

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In celebration of their 15 year partnership, UNIQLO and Toray hosted The Art and Science of LifeWear, an exhibition showcasing their innovative creations. TheCurrent sat down with Masahiko Nakasuji, Global CMO at UNIQLO, and Hajime Ishii, Director at Toray Industries.

Liz Bacelar: Where is UNIQLO heading as you think about 2020 and growing in the US?
Masahiko Nakasuji: The US is very important for UNIQLO. We strive to be #1 and without the US that won’t be possible. Right now we have 50 stores in the US, but that is not sufficient - we need to have a broader reach. As we plan for 2020, marketing will become very important in communicating our product features to the customer.  We have a lot of stories to tell to the customer about our product and we hope to improve the in-store experience to better communicate those stories to our customer. 

LB: Consumers are very different in Japan than in the US. As Global CMO, what are the challenges for growing in a different market?
MK: In the past 6 months, our e-commerce business has grown rapidly in the US. As we continue to grow we will focus on our product merchandising since product is our biggest strength. Take for example our HEATTECH products and Kando pants, once the customer buys the product and understands how the technology works, they return to buy multiple pieces. So raising awareness about the superior tech in our products is critical for our growth in the US market. 

LB: In addition to UNIQLO, does Toray have any other fashion collaborations in mind?
Hajime Ishii: We have a lot of business in China and South Asia, but we would like to further develop business in the US. Toray has a very strong and unique relationship with UNIQLO so we will continue to collaborate to create new products and technologies that don't already exist.