The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and global apparel retailer UNIQLO announced on Aug 6th the launch of the Edo Ukiyo-e UT Graphic Tee 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 public avidly collected striking portraits of beloved kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, mass-produced using innovative technology that allowed for single-sheet prints and sold at inexpensive prices. The new UNIQLO collection incorporates designs from works by five ukiyo-e masters, including the legendary Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series by Katsushika Hokusai.
The specially developed graphic tees—offered in eight styles for women and 10 for men—are part of the retailer’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 Edo Ukiyo-e collection also includes two dress designs for women and girls, as well as six sweatshirt and four Aloha shirt designs for men. The items are currently available online at UNIQLO.com and will be sold in UNIQLO stores worldwide starting August 9, 2019. The T-shirts will also be available at the MFA Signature Shop, where Museum members will be able to purchase them using their regular 10-percent discount. 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.