UNIQLO and MFA Boston Launch Third T-Shirt Collection, Inspired by Ukiyo-e Prints from Museum's Renowned Holdings of Japanese Art

Collaboration Continues UNIQLO’s 10-Year Partnership with the MFA

July 9, 2020 (BOSTON)—UNIQLO, the global apparel retailer, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), announce the launch of the Edo Ukiyo-e UT Graphic T-Shirt Collection, inspired by ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Museum’s preeminent holdings of Japanese art. Ukiyo-e, which translates to “pictures of the floating world,” was a genre of paintings and prints popular in the 19th century, which drew their subject matter from Japanese landscapes and the cosmopolitan fashions and entertainments of Edo (modern-day Tokyo). The new UNIQLO collection—the third developed in collaboration with the MFA—incorporates designs from works by two ukiyo-e masters, including the legendary Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series by Katsushika Hokusai and landscapes by Utagawa Hiroshige.

The specially developed graphic tees—offered in six styles—are part of UNIQLO’s UT (UNIQLO T-Shirt) line, which transforms T-shirts into canvases of art and self-expression through an array of authentic cultural content from around the world. The items will be available online at UNIQLO.com and will be sold in select UNIQLO stores globally starting Monday, July 13. This collaboration builds upon a 10-year partnership between the Museum and UNIQLO—a longtime supporter of arts and culture—that was established in 2017.

“We’re incredibly excited about our continued partnership with UNIQLO, a collaboration that supports the MFA’s mission of bringing art and people together on many levels,” said Debra LaKind, Senior Director of Intellectual Property and Business Development at the MFA. “We believe in the power of art and are thrilled about broadening access to our renowned Japanese collection.”

“This new UT collection continues UNIQLO’s proud partnership with the MFA and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of Japanese art,” said Nick Grover, UNIQLO Director of Brand Partnerships. “The Ukiyo-e collection reflects UNIQLO’s origins from Japan and our continued work to make art accessible to all.”

UNIQLO worked with the MFA’s curators to select designs from works by Hokusai and Hiroshige, drawn from the Museum’s collection of more than 50,000 ukiyo-e prints—among the largest and finest in the world. Ukiyo-e prints were mass-produced commercial products; the artist was only responsible for drawing the design. Wooden blocks—one for each color, in the case of color prints—were carved by professional block cutters, and prints were made from the blocks by professional printers. Ukiyo-e thrived during the Edo Period (1603–1868), when the repertoire of subject matter depicted in the prints expanded greatly. In addition to portraits of fashionable women and popular kabuki actors, landscapes and historical prints became major subgenres. Members of the public were enthralled by the colorful and highly detailed works, and successful designs sold thousands of impressions.

The Edo Ukiyo-e collection is UNIQLO’s third line of T-shirts developed in collaboration with the MFA, following the August 2018 release of the Katagami UT collection, which was inspired by the Museum’s katagami stencils, and the first Edo Ukiyo-e Collection, released in August 2019 and featuring designs from works by five ukiyo-e masters.

UNIQLO and the MFA

UNIQLO became part of the Boston community in the fall of 2015 at historic Faneuil Hall. Five additional store openings followed, including a location on Newbury Street. Since the launch of UNIQLO’s partnership with the MFA in the fall of 2017, educators from the Museum have hosted a range of art-making activities that are free and open to the public at the company’s stores throughout Massachusetts. UNIQLO additionally supports a variety of programs celebrating Japanese art and culture at the MFA, including the Boston Festival of Films from Japan, held annually in February.

About UNIQLO LifeWear

Apparel that comes from the Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. Designed to be of the time and for the time, LifeWear is made with such modern elegance that it becomes the building blocks of each individual’s style. A perfect shirt that is always being made more perfect. The simplest design hiding the most thoughtful and modern details. The best in fit and fabric made to be affordable and accessible to all. LifeWear is clothing that is constantly being innovated, bringing more warmth, more lightness, better design, and better comfort to people’s lives.

About UNIQLO and Fast Retailing

UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading Japanese retail holding company with global headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. UNIQLO is the largest of eight brands in the Fast Retailing Group, the others being GU, Theory, Helmut Lang, PLST (Plus T), Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam and J Brand. With global sales of approximately 2.13 trillion yen for the 2018 fiscal year ending August 31, 2018 (US $19.17 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2018 rate of $1 = 111.1 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.

UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world's most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a global brand. Today the company has more than 2,000 stores in 22 markets including Japan. In alphabetical order, the other markets are Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and U.S. In addition, UNIQLO established a social business in Bangladesh together with the Grameen Bank in 2010, and today there are several Grameen-UNIQLO stores in Dhaka.

With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere. For more information about UNIQLO and Fast Retailing, please visit www.uniqlo.com and www.fastretailing.com.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of Ancient Greece and Rome; Art of Ancient Egypt, Nubia and the Near East; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.