Uniqlo
Uniqlo

Uniqlo has unveiled an exhibition in Paris today, featuring a giant horizontal knitting machine, which will knit Uniqlo sweaters in front of a live audience.

Called “The Art and Science of LifeWear”, the show aims to tell the story of the textile technology behind the brand.

Held at the Jeu de Paume museum, visitors will also be able to follow the production journey of a typical Uniqlo knitwear product through a series of photographs. The show has fittingly opened just one day after the beginning of Paris Fashion Week.

At the exhibition’s opening, the brand’s founder and president, Tadashi Yanai, talked to the founding principles of the company. “Simple yet functional, high-quality and durable clothes, that’s what we aspire to offer,” he told WWD.

Uniqlo's Horizontal Knitwear Machine
Uniqlo’s Horizontal Knitwear Machine

The machine itself is a unique piece of storytelling of Uniqlo’s history. Established in 1962 by the company Shima Seiki, which works with Uniqlo for all its knitwear production, it innovated knitwear production by creating a machine that worked in a similar fashion to a 3D printer.

A company representative says the machine reduces production waste: “The horizontal knitting machine starts with one string of yarn to create the product. It does not require any different patterns, therefore there is no waste at all.”

This ties in with Uniqlo’s sustainability pledge, to which Yanai added: “Sustainability is everything. This is the most important value for mankind and that’s what we like to keep implementing through our clothing business and we are very, very serious about changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and changing the world.”

At the end of the exhibition, visitors are able to purchase travel-themed sweaters via the museum shop. A questionnaire poses them the question: “Did this exhibition make you want to buy Uniqlo knitwear?”

The exhibition runs until Saturday, September 29.

How are you thinking about textile innovation and sustainability? We’re all about helping you build strategic integrations. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.