Fast Retailing has recently established the Denim Innovation Center, the Group's first facility to focus on research and development of denim fabric, in Los Angeles, California.
The Denim Innovation Center aims to bring together specialists in jeans development from premium denim brand J Brand and other Fast Retailing Group companies to develop jeans utilizing innovative technologies and materials, according to the established tradition of jeans. The first project for the facility will be research on jeans for Uniqlo and J Brand. Products for both brands developed at the center will be available from the fall winter 2017 season.
By establishing this center in Los Angeles, one of the most important cities and hubs for denim globally, Fast Retailing will be able to quickly incorporate current trends in its designs. Focusing on the "3Fs" - fabric, fit, and finishing, the key elements in making jeans - the center will develop fabrics with the world's leading fabric makers, and will conduct R&D on the latest production technologies while producing jeans that look exceptional and are comfortable at the same time.
In the past, Fast Retailing had outsourced the production of samples and other operations to external manufacturers, but with this new center the company will now be able to manage the entire process in-house with the aim to considerably enhancing the speed and quality of their products.
The center will also be rented to contracted producers as a research center, which will increase the integrity of the finished product during actual production. In addition, the facility will focus on environmentally friendly processing and production methods, conducting R&D on chemicals and techniques used for fading and distressing of jeans.
The Denim Innovation Center will also provide a structure for fabric development and selection based on the type of jeans. Uniqlo also has been collaborating for long with Kaihara Corporation, high-quality Japanese denim manufacturer. By cooperating with this leading fabric manufacturer, Uniqlo aims to offer high-quality jeans.
The center will also work in collaboration with R&D centers from various Fast Retailing Group brands to develop higher–end denim products. The first project will be joint denim research and development between Uniqlo and J Brand. The new facility will integrate the two companies' expertise on jeans, and accumulate information on global trends and denim development, to develop the latest, highest-quality products for each brand.