UNIQLO, the global apparel retailer, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), announce the launch of the Edo Ukiyo-e UT Graphic T-Shirt Collection, inspired by ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Museum’s preeminent holdings of Japanese art. Ukiyo-e, which translates to “pictures of the floating world,” was a genre of paintings and prints popular in the 19th century, which drew their subject matter from Japanese landscapes and the cosmopolitan fashions and entertainments of Edo (modern day Tokyo). The new UNIQLO collection—the third developed in collaboration with the MFA—incorporates designs from works by two ukiyo-e masters, including the legendary Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series by Katsushika Hokusai and landscapes by Utagawa Hiroshige. The specially developed graphic tees—offered in six styles—are part of UNIQLO’s UT (UNIQLO T-Shirt) line, which transforms T-shirts into canvases of art and self-expression through an array of authentic cultural content from around the world. The items will be available online at UNIQLO.com and will be sold in select UNIQLO stores globally starting Monday, July 13th. This collaboration builds upon a 10-year partnership between the Museum and UNIQLO—a longtime supporter of arts and culture—that was established in 2017.
“We’re incredibly excited about our continued partnership with UNIQLO, a collaboration that
supports the MFA’s mission of bringing art and people together on many levels,” said Debra
LaKind, Senior Director of Intellectual Property and Business Development at the MFA. “We
believe in the power of art and are thrilled about broadening access to our renowned Japanese
“This new UT collection continues UNIQLO’s proud partnership with the MFA and the Museum’s
world-renowned collection of Japanese art,” said Nick Grover, UNIQLO Director of Brand
Partnerships. “The Ukiyo-e collection reflects UNIQLO’s origins from Japan and our continued
work to make art accessible to all.”
UNIQLO worked with the MFA’s curators to select designs from works by Hokusai and
Hiroshige, drawn from the Museum’s collection of more than 50,000 ukiyo-e prints—among the
largest and finest in the world. Ukiyo-e prints were mass-produced commercial products; the artist
was only responsible for drawing the design. Wooden blocks—one for each color, in the case of
color prints—were carved by professional block cutters, and prints were made from the blocks
by professional printers. Ukiyo-e thrived during the Edo Period (1603–1868), when the repertoire
of subject matter depicted in the prints expanded greatly. In addition to portraits of fashionable
women and popular kabuki actors, landscapes and historical prints became major subgenres.
Members of the public were enthralled by the colorful and highly detailed works, and successful
designs sold thousands of impressions.
The Edo Ukiyo-e collection is UNIQLO’s third line of T-shirts developed in collaboration with
the MFA, following the August 2018 release of the Katagami UT collection, which was inspired
by the Museum’s katagami stencils, and the first Edo Ukiyo-e Collection, released in August 2019
and featuring designs from works by five ukiyo-e masters.
UNIQLO AND THE MFA
UNIQLO became part of the Boston community in the fall of 2015 at historic Faneuil Hall. Five
additional store openings followed, including a location on Newbury Street. Since the launch of
UNIQLO’s partnership with the MFA in the fall of 2017, educators from the Museum have hosted
a range of art-making activities that are free and open to the public at the company’s stores
throughout Massachusetts. UNIQLO additionally supports a variety of programs celebrating
Japanese art and culture at the MFA, including the Boston Festival of Films from Japan, held
annually in February.