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Jil Sander to design for Japan's Uniqlo

 TOKYO - German luxury fashion designer Jil Sander is
teaming up with Japan’s no-frills clothing retailer Uniqlo, the company said

Sander – best known for her minimalist creations for executive women –
said she will now oversee men’s and women’s apparel at Uniqlo, operated by the
Japanese chain Fast Retailing Co Ltd.

“I think you must be surprised to see me here,” she told reporters in

“But I’m not interested in the past. I’m here for something completely
different. The challenge for me is to establish premium quality in a
democratically-priced brand.

 “My passion has always been quality and pureness. Now I’m looking forward
to establishing a new value in a new world,” she added.

Sander, whose eponymous fashion label was bought last year by Japan’s
Onward Holdings Corp, will play a creative advisory role at Uniqlo, Fast
Retailing officials said.

The Japanese retail operator hopes the move will further boost Uniqlo’s
global recognition, which has bucked the recession under the leadership of
Forbes-listed chairman Tadashi Yanai.

“Basically this is about how to upgrade Uniqlo, how to really make better
clothes, so it’s not about making new and separate products,” said Fast
Retailing operating officer Yukihiro Katsuta.

Sander and Uniqlo designers are working on a special collection to be
launched in stores around the world for the autumn/winter season. The clothes
are likely to be slightly above the average price range now offered at Uniqlo,
said Katsuta.

Sander left her label after it was bought by Italian luxury goods group
Prada. London-based investment fund Change Capital acquired the company in 2006
and last year sold it to Onward.

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