Think of Mickey Mouse and you immediately think of his iconic stance and his cheery smile beaming at you. And despite the fact that he’s instantly recognisable globally, the new collection from Uniqlo has found a new way to make you fall in love with the most famous mouse on earth. Thanks to their collaboration with London-based artist Kate Moross, who is a self-confessed mega-fan of Mickey and Minnie, the collection takes the magic and joy of Mickey and Minnie and reinterprets it in a way that still remains relevant and fresh. Stopping through Singapore for a fast minute, we got the chance to meet and chat with the affable artist.
Hi Kate, what have you been busy with?
I’ve been working on a lot of projects with Uniqlo, actually. We went to Disney Springs, where I did a mural there. I also did murals for the Uniqlo flagship stores on Fifth Avenue in New York City and on Oxford Street in London. And that’s all been in the last three weeks! [Laughs]
When you’re working with a character as iconic as Mickey Mouse, what was that experience like for you?
I was definitely a little intimidated by how iconic Mickey Mouse is. To be able to do something new with the standing Mickey Mouse pose is very difficult because as a character, he’s been explored for decades. I really wanted to find a way to interpret him in my own style, so it was kind of intimidating. I had to tell myself to just start drawing and doodling, and I found a way to flesh it out from there when I came up with the illustrations you see. I think that they are a great representation of my work, as well as the classic Mickey pose.
The strokes and the colours you’ve used have a very ’90s-meets-pop-art kind of vibe. Was that an inspiration that influenced your designs?
Definitely. These themes recur through my work. I wouldn’t say that it was intentional or that they were on the moodboard necessarily, but I grew up with that era of design so it runs through everything that I do. There are countless images of me growing in various ’90s Disney attire [laughs] Bum bags, baseball caps, leggings…the works. All of the things related to that era of Disney was in my mind when I was designing the collection, and I wanted to also bring a little bit of sportswear into the designs too. For the typography, I had the idea to do a Mickey t-shirt for a customer who would not normally want to wear one, and I think having the typography instead of a character helps.
You’re quite a Disney fan then!
I’ve been to Disneyland 10 times in the last seven years [laughs] and I don’t include the times that I’ve gone as a kid. So this is actually a dream collaboration! I think even the team at Uniqlo realised early on that I really wanted to work with Mickey.
What’s your favourite designs from the collection?
Definitely the colourful doodled Mickey on the black shirt, and the standing Mickey on the white one too. To be able to take that iconic image and mix it with a lot colourful and playful patterns, as well as references from my childhood, that means a lot to me.
If you were to do another Disney collection, which character would you pick?
I think I’d like to work with Pixar characters next, just because I love the stories and the depth. For example, Toy Story has got so many details and layers, and you’ve got so many themes to pick from. There’s the space theme, the cowboy theme…Pizza Planet, the little aliens in the claw machine…I had this idea to do a t-shirt with the name “Andy” in the back, just like in the movies too.
Images and interview courtesy of Uniqlo
The Uniqlo x Kate Moross collection is launched on 17th August 2018 at Uniqlo Orchard Central and online at uniqlo.com/sg. You can also meet Kate in person on 18th August 2018, as she completes a mural outside Uniqlo Orchard Central with the help of two students specially chosen from LASALLE College of the Arts.