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Tennis Star Novak Djokovic to Appear in Uniqlo Ads

It is his first campaign for the retailer since being named brand ambassador in May 2012.

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LONDON — Tennis ace Novak Djokovic will appear in his first campaign for Uniqlo since being named brand ambassador in May 2012. He will front the campaign for Airism, an underwear collection made from a high-tech fabric that is being positioned as the summer equivalent to the brand’s Heat Tech range.

Although being touted as “the ultimate everyday underwear," Djokovic wears Uniqlo Airism under his kit while doing his thing on court. “I was surprised when I wore Airism for the first time and played a match. I get nervous about certain things when playing a match and getting sweaty is definitely one of them,” Djokovic told WWD. “But as soon as I wore it I felt the sweat dried right away. It also fits to the body really nicely even though I play quite aggressively, which means I can concentrate better on the gamewhen I wear it.”

He wears it away from grand slams too, “I don’t just wear Airism during a match, but also in everyday life because it’s comfortable. At first I thought it isn’t necessary to wear anything underneath, but it’s actually very comfortable to wear under knits and shirts because it’s very thin.”

Airism has been engineered by the Japanese brand in collaboration with Toray, a fiber technologist. For the men’s Airism fabric, Uniqlo used milk protein to create the fiber, which is 1/12th the thickness of a human hair. Tiny spaces within the fabric make it ultra absorbent and quick-drying, and the increased surface area in contact with air means that moisture is quickly dissipated.

Airism underwear comes in collections for women and children too. The women’s Airism products are made of cupro, a fiber that comes from cotton linter, combined with modified cross-section nylon fibers for a unique composite thread that offers the same absorbent and moisture-dissipating benefits. The kids’ range features only the anti-odor technology.

Polina Semionova, principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre in New York, fronts the campaign for the women’s collection. She wore pieces from the collection in training and was impressed with the results. “I was really excited to try Airism on and see how it feels in training. I felt like I was born in it. I didn't feel it on my body, and at the same time, it was there,” she told WWD. “And I had different sizes, just to try it. I had a small and I had a large, so the one which was completely fitting my body, and the next day, I wear the other one, which was large, which is very free, and I like both of them in a differentway.”

The campaign breaks in Japan on Wednesday and will appear globally later in the spring in both outdoor and print media.

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