You have to get up pretty early in the morning to know the frenetic goings-on of London's fashion scene. Such was the case this morning, when the city's fash-pack awoke at the crack of dawn to make it to UNIQLO's breakfast launch of cashmere and denim for the winter holidays. And what an impressive array it was: superior kaihara denim, super-soft cashmere and a new men’s selvedge line. Headlining, however, were hosts Gareth Pugh, Kim Jones and Carri Mundane, who modeled their new tees for UNIQLO, the latest in the UT (UNIQLO T-shirt) Project.
Arrival at the new Biscuit Tin at Shoreditch House felt like walking into a nightclub. All the familiar ingredients were there: BoomBox's DJ Jerry Bouthier on the decks, editors from Britain's top fashion titles, design tribes gathering on different sides of the room. Even BoomBox mastermind Richard Mortimer was on hand, keeping his resident DJ supplied with watermelon juice and bacon bagels.
“I don’t do mornings,” muttered Kim Jones, the first of the designers to arrive, before mellowing into a friendlier chat about the T-shirt he designed for the project. “I sat down with my graphic designer and we thought about all of our favorite song lyrics and worked them in. We also got some S-Express in there,” he added. “I’m in the band, you know!”
Then it was off for a bit of circulating with bold-facers: the Sunday Times' fashion critic Colin McDowell, the Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander, Dazed & Confused editor-in-chief Nicki Bidder, British GQ’s Charlie Porter (wearing the baggiest Raf Simons jeans known to man), the Guardian’s Jess Cartner-Morley and Samantha Conti, London bureau chief of WWD, who I shared a Bucks Fizz with. Stacey Duguid from Elle shared a couch with her team, while Ben Readon, editor of i-D, and his fashion editors Francesca Burns and Erika Kurihara munched on wild mushroom omelettes, as well as the fall denims from Uniqlo's main line, which was also on display. “It's mingling as an extreme sport,” observed i-D contributing editor Hanna Hanra.
Gareth Pugh arrived next, and he was quickly commended by his publicist Mandi Lennard, who organized the event, for wearing UNIQLO. “It’s my only piece,” he quipped, perhaps angling for a few free samples to be thrown his way. Gareth’s design, with his signature checkerboard and star motifs, is reminiscent of the graphic, futuristic prints from his own line. “I’ve only started making sales with my main collection," he said, "but all of my stockists are pretty exclusive so it’s nice to have a presence on the high street.” Always thinking of the kids!
Our conversation was interrupted by the lovely Emma Elwick from Vogue, who came with her new friend and winner of Vogue's New Talent competition [and Hint contributor], Stephen Doig. After chatting about boys and reminiscing about our joint adventures at Glastonbury, it was time to sniff out the third and final designer in the project: Carri Mundane of Cassette Playa, who I found sharing a scrambled egg and smoked salmon toastette with Dazed & Confused fashion editor Katie Shillingford and Eyespy editor and photographer Matt Irwin. “All of my prints are based on symbolism,” she told me of her T-shirts, “and this one is based on Fischer Price. You know, the children's toys.”
In an elevator back to civilization, Gareth rummaged through his goodie bag and pulled out a cashmere top. “Shit, I’ve gone and picked up a women's bag. Oh well, I’ll give it to Pippa, me housemate!” Which might explain why he has only one piece of UNIQLO in his wardrobe.
—Henry Holland. Photos by Alistair Allan of Dirtydirtydancing.com