Get Ready to Queue: KAWS & UNIQLO Are Back at It

It’s happening again. KAWS & UNIQLO are coming back together for a new UT T-Shirt collaboration collection for 2023 that will launch simultaneously alongside a definitive KAWS art book.

Slated to land globally on September 7, the 2023 KAWS x UNIQLO collaboration is sure to set stores alight (with commerce) and form mile-long queues of fans desperate to claim T-shirts printed with the artist’s signature COMPANION and BFF characters.

The collaboration was initially teased on August 23 via UNIQLO & KAWS’ social media pages.

Two short videos showed KAWS’ X-eyed Companion figure pushing its way through a stack of KAWS artworks (or books, or something) and draping a white T-shirt printed with KAWS’ 2021 artwork What Party: Tide, an epochal piece showing Companion submerged face-deep in water.

Indeed, everything from KAWS’ 2023 UNIQLO team-up delivers UNIQLO UT T-shirts emblazoned with imagery from “What Party,” the Brooklyn-based artist’s recent traveling museum exhibit.

Note that KAWS also simultaneously oversaw “KAWS:HOLIDAY,” a traveling exhibit that was incapable of being hosted in museums because its subjects included enormous inflatables. Of course, there was UNIQLO merch.

“What Party,” which toured the world in 2021, was filled with KAWS’ typical oeuvre: SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons‘ animated casts with X’d-out eyes, a DKNY fashion campaign laden with a KAWS doodle, and large sculptures of KAWS’ archetypal figures.

This is the first KAWS x UNIQLO collaboration since the pair’s 2019 team-ups.

The most famous one stirred madness among shoppers desperate to claim T-shirts printed with Sesame Street characters illustrated by KAWS (notable feature: familiar characters with X’d-out eyes).

KAWS’ UNIQLO collaborations typically take on pop culture touchstones, as the artist is wont to do. KAWS x UNIQLO’s 2017 collab centered on the the artist’s spin on the Peanuts comic strip, for instance (notable feature: familiar characters with X’d-out eyes — noticing a pattern?).

Most recently, KAWS participated in UNIQLO’s “PEACE FOR ALL” collection, a charitable endeavor wherein UNIQLO parent Fast Retailing donated some proceeds from UNIQLO UT artist T-shirts to UNHCR, Save the Children Japan, and Plan International Inc.

Note that though KAWS x UNIQLO products typically aren’t limited (and they tend to be restocked over the course of a few months), they essentially fly off shelves for the first week or so that they’re available as devotees dutifully pile into line to consume.

Don’t expect KAWS and UNIQLO UT’s What Party T-shirts to be any different.

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