It’s that time again! KAWS and UNIQLO are joining forces once more for another fantastic collaborative UT collection, coinciding with the launch of Phaidon’s latest KAWS book.
What’s the occasion, you ask?
Well, it’s the KAWS x UNIQLO What Party collaboration. Yes, it’s quite a mouthful and not the smoothest phrase to pronounce, but we believe in covering all the bases.
Mark your calendars for September 7, as the highly anticipated 2023 KAWS x UNIQLO collaboration will hit stores worldwide and UNIQLO’s online platform.
There’s no doubt that this collaboration will ignite a shopping frenzy, with stores buzzing with activity and enthusiastic fans forming long queues, all eager to grab hold of T-shirts and sweaters adorned with the iconic COMPANION and BFF characters, the artist’s signature motifs.
In addition to the collaboration, a special KAWS Phaidon book will debut at UNIQLO stores. However, it’s safe to say that the majority of excitement will be reserved for the fashion collaboration.
The initial teaser dropped on August 23 via UNIQLO & KAWS’ social media channels. The teaser featured two concise videos, showcasing KAWS’ X-eyed Companion sculpture emerging from a stack of KAWS boxes and draping a white T-shirt imprinted with KAWS’ 2021 artwork titled “What Party: Tide.”
This artwork is a momentous creation depicting a Companion figure submerged in water.
Every aspect of the 2023 UNIQLO UT collaboration with KAWS is inspired by “What Party,” the artist’s acclaimed traveling museum exhibition from 2023. The collection features a range of UNIQLO UT T-shirts adorned with imagery from this exhibition, capturing the essence of KAWS’ distinctive style.
It’s worth noting that KAWS was simultaneously at the helm of “KAWS:HOLIDAY,” an itinerant exhibition that couldn’t be housed in traditional museums due to its incorporation of massive inflatables. Naturally, this exhibition also featured exclusive UNIQLO merchandise.
Back to the “What Party”-focused collaboration, this marks the first release of a KAWS x UNIQLO collaboration since their successful partnership in 2019. And yes, this time around, they are once again offering stickers for early bird shoppers.
Looking back four years, the most memorable drop-featured T-shirts showcasing Sesame Street characters reimagined by KAWS, complete with his signature X-eyed twist, driving shoppers into a frenzy to snag these unique pieces.
KAWS’ collaborations with UNIQLO consistently tap into pop culture touchpoints, reflecting the artist’s distinct style. The 2017 collaboration, for instance, centered around KAWS’ artistic take on the Peanuts comic strip, adding his trademark X-eyed flair to familiar characters.
More recently, KAWS participated in UNIQLO’s “PEACE FOR ALL” collection, a philanthropic initiative where a portion of proceeds from UNIQLO UT artist T-shirts were donated to organizations like UNHCR, Save the Children Japan, and Plan International Inc.
While KAWS x UNIQLO products usually have a broad availability window and tend to be restocked over a few months, they tend to sell out rapidly within the initial week due to the dedicated fanbase eagerly lining up to grab a piece of the collaboration.
With all this in mind, don’t anticipate anything less for the upcoming release of the KAWS and UNIQLO UT’s “What Party” T-shirts. It’s bound to be yet another whirlwind of excitement and anticipation.