VP Licensing, Merchandising & Design | UNIQLO

Currently Nick is the Creative Director of UT and VP of Global Licensing at UNIQLO.  Prior to that Nick was with Gap Inc. at their Old Navy brand for 10 years where he was an executive on the Men's Division and was the creator of the Old Navy Licensing Division.  Nick, his wife, and 3 young sons, feel lucky to call San Francisco their home.


1. What was your very first job? What does it feel like to look back at it now?
I was a marketing coordinator for American Eagle Outfitters.  In some ways it was an experience that helped me always feel the itch to want to be creative in my work.  After that first job I was a merchant for 12+ years, I enjoyed it, but it was missing something.  In my new role I finally get to have a place for that creative output, but still staying close to the business strategy.
2. Please describe, in your own words, what your current job is and what work it entails.
I'm the Creative Director and head of Licensing for UNIQLO's UT Division.  The stakes are high, but the job is a lot of fun.  I'm responsible for coming up with who we will partner with and what stories we will tell, then I get to work with each outside partner to co-develop the collections.  UNIQLO being a Japanese company and a lot of partners being non Japanese, I do spend a lot of time problem solving, but having the ability to start each season with a complete blue sky mentality and really trying to dial in to the zeitgeist of global culture is fun, daunting and stressful, but fun.
3. How did you discover that the creative world is right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? Which train of events did bring you to where you are today?
It was probably more of  slow burn for me, but my wife is a designer and we worked at the same company when we met and then both transitioned to working from home around the same time, just being around someone who is super creative can have a really positive impact on getting over the fear a lot of us have to put creative ideas out there.  Whether in our jobs or personal lives.
4. In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how and where do you usually find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
It's not a great answer, but everywhere, I may see something that a small online brand or local boutique is doing and it will send down a path of trying to unlock and idea like that on a global level.  On the other side, I work with partners like Disney that aren't exclusive to UNIQLO, so we have to figure out a special twist to put on anything we create.  The team and I spend a lot of time in museums, reading books, and going to cultural events to better understand what is happening. 
5. If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be?
Early on in my time at UNIQLO I had the opportunity to find an artist in NY to collaborate with as part of a bigger Haring, Basquiat, Warhol collection we had launching.  His work was only for one store in NY, but we were able to work together to make it an impactful experience for our customers, our founder saw the recap and loved it so much, 2 years later we had worked together on 3 global collections.  The idea of being an amplification point for talented creatives is something that I really try to use my role at UNIQLO to be.
6. Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc)
In my day to day role, I focus more on what is happening in art (illustration, painting, photography) and the world of pop culture more than anything else, but I am seeing a stronger and stronger need to be storytellers in addition to product creators, so now am playing catchup on leaning about using social media to effectively tell stories and generate global awareness to projects we have coming out.


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