Uniqlo inks deal with Roger Federer, starts at Wimbledon
Uniqlo has announced a partnership with tennis champion Roger Federer who has become the Japanese retail giant’s newest global brand ambassador. No value was given by the company but reports suggested the 10-year deal for the player, who was previously signed to Nike, could be worth up to £230 million.
The new partnership means that he will represent Uniqlo at all tennis tournaments throughout the year, starting with this month’s Wimbledon.
He joins other brand ambassadors signed up to the firm including Kei Nishikori (tennis), Shingo Kunieda and Gordon Reid (wheelchair tennis) and Adam Scott (golf).
Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo’s founder and chairman/CEO of its parent company, Fast Retailing, said the partnership “will be about innovation on and off court.”
He added that the retailer will help the champ to “continue taking tennis to new places, while exploring innovations in a number of areas including technology and design with him.”
For the deal’s debut at Wimbledon, Federer will be seen in gamewear designed at the Uniqlo Paris R&D Centre, led by Artistic Director Christophe Lemaire. Instead of the classic polo shirt or crewneck-style collar, the brand has reflected his preference for a short stand-up collar “to emphasise a more sophisticated look both on and off court.”
The design of the shirt and shorts is accented by a burgundy colour line at the edge of the sleeves and the front panel of the shirt, and down the sides of the shorts. This “highlights the company's corporate colour, especially at the launch of the partnership.”
The pieces have been made using Dry Ex, a material jointly developed by Uniqlo and Toray Industries. It features an arched structure claimed to dry faster than ordinary dry-function material, “preventing the steamy and sticky feeling due to perspiration and keeping a comfortable feel during play.” Highly breathable mesh has been used in areas that accumulate sweat, helping to avoid overheating.
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