Hana Tajima for UNIQLO spring 2017 Image by: UNIQLO
Designed in collaboration with Hana Tajima, UNIQLO’s inclusive offering launches on February 24.
Hana Tajima, a multi-disciplinary artist and designer, has been producing a line of modest wear with UNIQLO since 2015. This season, the collection arrives at UNIQLO stores in Canada for the first time. The line includes drapey tunics with ties to change the fit, crisp collarless linen blouses and softly pleated trousers in a pleasing palette of navy, white, rust and olive green along with a range of hijabs and abayas. It’s all part of the Japanese basics purveyor’s “Life Wear” concept, which promises clothing for all. Indeed, the lavender duster coat and striped cropped trousers could seamlessly blend into anyone’s wardrobe—something Tajima says is intentional. Here’s how New York-based, London-raised Tajima is pushing back against homogeny in fashion through her empowering designs.
What’s your design process like?
"I design by draping on a form, a lot of the time I don’t know what the collection is going to be before I start. The draping process helps define it. A lot of asymmetry was coming out in my work, which accentuates the feeling of movement in these pieces."
How has the line evolved since it began?
"We started off just in South East Asia, and for those countries it was a about bringing a different aesthetic to mainstream fashion. Because we were dealing with a hotter climate we were using really lightweight fabrics. The more we introduced the collection to other places around the world, the more we had to differentiate between seasons. The essence of it stayed the same, but the colours and fabrics have been adapted. The colours that sell the best in South East Asia very vibrant pinks and yellows, but here of course it’s black, navy and white. It’s really interesting to see those dynamics."
What is it like to work with UNIQLO? Are you flying to Tokyo a lot?
"Oh, there’s a lot of travel to Tokyo, which on a personal level is really fantastic. They’re so dedicated to the perfection of an item and my approach has always been to refine and redefine what a shirt means, or what an individual item means."
How does it feel to see a global brand take on this line?
"It’s really fantastic. I think it’s not just for Muslim women but for any sort of minority. Having a voice on a global platform is really inspiring and empowering. It’s indicative of a push back against a homogenous identity and what it means to be a woman."
Was there a need that you heard women express that wasn’t being met before this collection?
"There’s definitely a correlation between the androgynous look and modest wear. And I think that where they intersect is this idea of redefining femininity. There are demands from both sides. From women who want to wear modest clothing for either religious or cultural reasons to women who want to redefine what it means to be feminine. For me, the process ends but the design gets transferred to the person wearing it. I want to provide details and different ways to wear a piece to allow people to interpret these designs in their own way."
Hana Tajima for UNIQLO
When you’re talking to someone who is perhaps not the core customer for this line, are there misconceptions about modest wear?
"The term modest wear as a concept is tied to a certain cultural background. But it’s opening up. The name itself is sort of awkward and there’s still judgement about the person wearing it. But I think that the more we open that term up to mean something more inclusive, the better it’s going to be. And weirdly, fashion is considered something less weighty..."
"Exactly. But it allows people to connect because it gives us something to relate to. It lets people drop their guard and really connect with each other on a human level."
Hana Tajima for UNIQLO
Image by: Getty
Perhaps predictably, February is the busiest month of the year for some wax bars. "It's like Christmas!" says Amy Finnegan Burns, director of operations for WAXON Waxbars. "People are going away on vacation, doing something for Family Day or celebrating Valentine's Day. With those three things combined, we are always fully booked after the sixth of February."
The most popular service for WAXON, which has six locations across Ontario and one in Nova Scotia, is still the Brazilian wax. "Everything bare" has consistently been the most requested service over the last 5 years, and makes up 70% of the brand's business. "The one thing that people do switch up depending on their mood or personal preference is leaving a landing strip," says Finnegan Burns. "We are seeing a slight growth in landing strips for women."
What has changed about the Brazilian wax are the people getting them. "What we’ve seen is a spread in demographic," she says. It's not just 25 year-olds requesting the service – clients are anywhere from 17 to 70 years of age. The most dramatic growth they've seen is in the 55+ age group, which increased by 10% for the company in the last year.
(A brief public service announcement: You need to wait 24 hours before engaging in sexual activity after having a wax. "That friction isn’t ideal for sensitivity and ingrown hairs," says Finnegan Burns. Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so that means you want to aim to wax – if that's your preference, we're by no means saying waxing or shaving is a must – Saturday, Sunday or Monday.)
The second most popular service for female clients? Arm waxing, which has seen a "massive increase" in the last two years, particularly in the summer months. "Nostrils is up there as well," says Finnegan Burns, who promises this is not as painful as it sounds. Hard wax is applied to a popsicle stick and spread on the outer and inner corner of the nostrils, then left to harden before being pulled out. "It is a quick 3 minutes," she says. "Among women and men it is becoming an incredibly popular add-on service. Five years ago, I don’t think [that demand] really existed."
Courtesy of Jo Malone London, of course.
When perfumer Yann Vasnier explored the English countryside in search of inspiration for a new Jo Malone London fragrance, he fell in love with the idyllic scenery. Creating the Bloomsbury Set – a nod to a clan of English intellects including E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf – required research at Charleston, a bucolic cottage in East Sussex that served as a study hub for the famously liberated crowd.
“We enjoyed the idea that this group of people appeared to be very English and proper, but they were, in fact, nonconformists and true hedonists,” says Vasnier. “We liked how the ‘proper’ contrasted with the ‘promiscuous.’ They were the juxtaposition of domesticity and simplicity with this hugely intellectual environment.” Which explains the notes of “waxy wooden floor” in Whisky & Cedarwood and “beeswax sweet pipe tobacco” in Tobacco & Mandarin.
Jo Malone London Whisky & Cedarwood, Garden Lilies, Blue Hyacinth, Leather & Artemisia and Tobacco & Mandarin ($90 for each 30 mL cologne), at jomalone.ca.
New York fashion week went out with a bang, and naturally we saw it all go down on Insta.