Magic For All: When Disney meets Uniqlo

If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, then the fifth floor of the largest Uniqlo store on earth, which houses the new UNIQLO and DISNEY collab called Magic For All, must be the happiest 12,250 sq ft of retail space on the planet. Our writer spends some time — and money — there

The happiest shop on earth?
The happiest shop on earth?
23 Oct 2015

The happiest shop on earth?

My renminbi did a disappearing act at the Uniqlo Shanghai flagship store. The crisp notes in my wallet took one look at the down jackets with Mickey figures hidden in the lining, the Minnie Mouse pullovers, the Star Wars T-shirts and the Frozen baby outfits, and promptly surrendered themselves to the cash register. It’s magic, I tell you. Disney magic. Wait, did I mention the Mickey Mouse plushes? Unlike run-of-the-mill Mickey Mouse soft toys (sorry, classic Mickey), these boast an arty and very Uniqlo touch — they’re made using the brand’s signature fleece and flannel fabrics and come in cool tartan and plaid patterns. 

Could it be magic?
Could it be magic?
23 Oct 2015

Could it be magic?

Above: Uniqlo China ambassadors Ni Ni (left) and Chen Kun (extreme right) with Uniqlo head honcho Tadashi Yanai and Paul Candlan, President of The Walt Disney Company, Asia

I knew my money was a goner when the Uniqlo PR folks took us to the massive 71,000 sq ft flagship store on Shanghai’s Huai Hai Road and told us that we’d be among the first in the world to see — and shop at — the world’s first Magic For All store, the result of Uniqlo and Disney taking their relationship to the next level (the two companies had worked on collabs for years, but never on this scale), launching a full-fledged store packed to the gills with all manner of Disney merchandise that had been given the Uniqlo twist — or Uniqlo togs given the Disney treatment, if you like. 

Above: Uniqlo China ambassadors Ni Ni (left) and Chen Kun (extreme right) with Uniqlo head honcho Tadashi Yanai and Paul Candlan, President of The Walt Disney Company, Asia. 

(L) Mickey 100 Series T-shirt (R) Star Wars sweat shirt
(L) Mickey 100 Series T-shirt (R) Star Wars sweat shirt
23 Oct 2015

(L) Mickey 100 Series T-shirt (R) Star Wars sweat shirt

Disney brand reps rave about Uniqlo’s creativity in interpreting the Disney vibe and characters, and praise Uniqlo’s innovative technology — Heattech long-sleeved tees stamped with Mickey heads and Ultra Light Down compact jackets that can be rolled into a ball featuring Frozen’s Olaf the snowman elevate the collaboration to more than just a perfunctory slapping of characters onto T-shirts.

And even when they do slap characters onto T-shirts, it’s with such artistry that even those who baulk at cheesy cartoon tees may be swayed. For the Mickey 100 Series, Uniqlo asked 100 creative types to re-interpret the Mickey Mouse image, had these made into figurines and put 15 of these designs onto colourful Uniqlo T-shirts. The results include Mickey as a melting cheese pizza, Mickey with donuts for ears and Mickey as a neatly-trimmed hedge.

For those who prefer the more straight-forward stuff, there are Elsa and Snow White sweaters and Monsters Inc and Toy Story tees. Returning the compliment to Disney is Tadashi Yanai, Japan’s richest man and founder and president of Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo.

In Shanghai to launch Magic For All and speak to journalists, Mr Yanai calls Disney the “number one brand in the world”, and tells a roomful of reporters about his fascination with Disney, which began when Japan lost World War II, leading to an influx of American culture, which introduced a young man to the magic of characters like Dumbo, Pinocchio and Snow White.  

Shopping up a storm(trooper)
Shopping up a storm(trooper)
23 Oct 2015

Shopping up a storm(trooper)

Above: A futuristic section at the Magic For All store in Shanghai.

Tinkerbell flits across store monitors, videos are played featuring dancers who cast shadows shaped like Mickey and there are dedicated sections that each ooze a special Disney vibe (including the vibrant kids’ section, a fairytale-themed women’s alcove and our favourite, a futuristic zone featuring life-sized Storm Troopers, metal floors and ticker-tape LED screens).

It’s magic, for sure, and we — and our wallets — are enchanted. For those who can’t jet to Shanghai to experience all this, you can get a slice of the magic in Singapore. The Magic For All collection is available in 13 of the 23 Uniqlo stores here, as well as at www.uniqlo.com/sg, with the Suntec City store being the only one with a special Disney zone.

We’re getting a whopping 90 per cent of the entire Magic For All collection, with some of the items already available in stores, and others — such as the Star Wars items and Mickey plush toys — launching in November. May the force — and magic — be with you, as you try to hold on to your cash and credit cards.

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