UNIQLO’s kurta collection popularizes the ancient South Asian garment, but also elicits mixed reactions.Sneha Mehta
When New Delhi-based designer Rina Singh visited UNIQLO’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Ariake district in 2018 to discuss a possible collaboration with the Japanese retailer, the brand’s global head of research and development Yuki Katsuta was intrigued by what Singh was wearing.
“I was wearing a kurta from Eka [Singh’s women’s wear label] made of wool, silk, and cotton, styled with stockings and brogues,” said Singh. “Because it was neither a dress nor a tunic, [UNIQLO] wanted to understand what it was and how I’d styled it like that. So I started talking to them about the kurta and about how it is India’s unofficial everyday clothing, made up of separates. They thought this was very democratic.”
UNIQLO ultimately partnered with Singh to launch its first kurta collection in New Delhi last October, available in India and seven other Asian countries. UNIQLO and Singh collaborated again on a second kurta collection for Spring/Summer 2020, which launched globally in 24 countr
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