You expect advertising to make products look as good, if not better, than they do in real life. Despite knowing that, Uniqlo was a disappointment to me. A bit like a washed up Benetton, with some H&M; chaos thrown in.
But their recent campaign, featuring ‘puppets’ made from various pieces of clothing from the shop, was a classic and had made me venture into the shop. Beautifully contrived and photographed, the images really stepped off the walls of the underground and shined in the pages of the free Uniqlo Paper magazine.
In fact, if you didn’t feel the need to buy a less than sumptuous cashmere jumper, you could do worse than pick up a copy of that free paper – far more inspiring than the clothes on sale. Of course, I find it hard to leave any free shop literature behind anyway, whether it’s a tiny leaflet on washing your purchases (agnès b) or a more substantial catalogue (Habitat or Muji).
I have been meaning to post about this campaign for a while, it’s the only one that has caught my attention – and got my antenna twitching – for a good long time. But I always like to assimilate what I think about things. The puppets were made by Gary Card, set designer and model maker, who has collaborated with stylist Nicola Formichetti on previous Uniqlo projects. Those two seem to have one of those empathetic creative relationships (like Tim Walker and Shona Heath) that takes their work onto the next level.
Work like this is rooted in imagination and craftsmanship. But, like a lot of great fashion imagery, it dabbles with the hyperreal, too.