Chicago Bulls and Uniqlo Partner on Design Contest for After School Matters Students

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls and global apparel retailer UNIQLO have partnered on a design contest with Chicago non-profit After School Matters to inspire local teens to use art to express what makes the city of Chicago unique. Entries were submitted in the form of t-shirt designs by more than 200 youth representing current and former students from After School Matters art, fashion and design programs and from affiliated CPS schools.

"It is so gratifying when the Chicago Bulls can work together with great partners like UNIQLO and After School Matters to create unique learning opportunities for young people. Encouraging creativity can help students better express themselves, feel more self-confident and gain important skills for college and future careers," said Michael Reinsdorf, Bulls President and COO. "We applaud UNIQLO for coming into the Chicago marketplace in a way that gives back to our community."

"UNIQLO is thrilled to partner with an organization as iconic and philanthropic as the Chicago Bulls to celebrate art and encourage the Chicago youth to use their city to inspire creativity," says Justin Kerr, Chief Merchandising Officer. "UNIQLO looks forward to continuing the support of Chicago youth and the arts."

The Bulls and Uniqlo selected 100 students from all submissions received and will invite them to a special event held at UNIQLO’s new Chicago store on Michigan Avenue. The students will tour the store and participate in a discussion about careers in art and fashion with UNIQLO General Manager Stacy Hamai. Each student will receive a $100 UNIQLO gift card and a private shopping experience with the opportunity to select school and professional clothes.

"After School Matters is thrilled to once again partner with the Chicago Bulls – longtime supporters of our programming and our mission – and to welcome UNIQLO to Chicago with this fantastic initiative," said Mary Ellen Caron, After School Matters CEO. "By highlighting the outstanding work of teenagers, we help to show them that anything is possible. Thank you to the Bulls and to UNIQLO for telling Chicago’s young people that they matter, and that they deserve the spotlight."

After School Matters is a Chicago-based non-profit organization devoted to providing innovative out-of-school time programs for teenagers. The teen population that After School Matters serves is almost entirely minority and living at or below the poverty level. After School Matters was founded more than two decades ago by Chicago’s former First Lady, Maggie Daley. Since then, it has served more than 200,000 teens.

Ten finalists were chosen from the 100 student contestants, and they will be recognized at tonight’s Bulls preseason game vs. the Indiana Pacers. Each finalist received two tickets to tonight’s game and will have their designs featured in the United Center concourse.

One student’s design will be selected as the winner and that student will be recognized at center court during halftime at tonight’s game. The winner will also receive special UNIQLO and Bulls experiences.

All 10 finalists’ designs will be on display at the UNIQLO Chicago store’s grand opening on Friday, October 23.

About UNIQLO LifeWear

Apparel that comes from the Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. Designed to be of the time and for the time, LifeWear is made with such modern elegance that it becomes the building blocks of each individual’s style. A perfect shirt that is always being made more perfect. The simplest design hiding the most thoughtful and modern details. The best in fit and fabric made to be affordable and accessible to all. LifeWear is clothing that is constantly being innovated, bringing more warmth, more lightness, better design, and better comfort to people’s lives.

About UNIQLO and Fast Retailing

UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands: Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, Theory, and UNIQLO. With global sales of approximately 1.6817 trillion yen for the 2015 fiscal year ending August 31, 2015 (US $13.88 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2015 rate of $1 = 121.18 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.

UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world's most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a truly global brand. Today the company has a total of more than 1,600 stores in 17 markets worldwide including Japan, Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S. In addition, Grameen UNIQLO, a social business established in Bangladesh in September 2010, currently operates several Grameen UNIQLO stores in Dhaka. UNIQLO manages an integrated business model under which it designs, manufactures, markets and sells high-quality, casual apparel. The company believes that truly great clothes should be supremely comfortable, feature universal designs, are of high quality and offer a superb fit to everyone who wears them.

With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere. For more information about UNIQLO and Fast Retailing, please visit www.uniqlo.com and www.fastretailing.com.

About After School Matters

After School Matters provides Chicago high school teens with high quality, out-of-school time opportunities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. Over the course of our history, more than 200,000 teens have participated in our hands-on, project-based after-school and summer programs in the arts, communications, science, sports and technology. Programs take place at locations throughout the city including Chicago public high schools, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations, community-based organizations and downtown at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts. www.afterschoolmatters.org