Uniqlo Stages Prize Ceremony at the Louvre for Its T-shirt Design Contest

ART FOR ALL: “I have always wanted to visit this place at least once ever since I was a child, so I’m happy that my dream came true,” said Ayahiko Kondo as he stood on stage in the auditorium of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The Japanese illustrator was one of five creatives to receive an award on Tuesday at the prize-giving ceremony for the UT Grand Prix, Uniqlo’s global T-shirt design competition, held for the first time at the famed Paris museum.

Kondo received his prize from Sarah Andelman, the founder of consulting agency Just an Idea. Interior designer India Mahdavi, a fellow judge, took off her jacket to model her chosen design by Taiwanese illustrator Sonya Wang, featuring outlines of some of the museum’s most famous statues. 

Nine winners were selected from 9,269 entries worldwide based on works from the collection of the Louvre, which has had a partnership with Uniqlo since 2021 that also includes support for educational programs. T-shirts featuring the top designs were due to go on sale at a pop-up store in the museum from Thursday until Aug. 31.

The Grand Prix went to Hinz Pak, a U.K.-based artist who originally won the prize 15 years ago. His winning design showed the Mona Lisa wielding chopsticks, with the Louvre Pyramid designed by I.M. Pei rendered as an onigiri.

Illustrator Hinz Pak's winning design for Uniqlo's UT Grand Prix 2024 global T-shirt design competition

Illustrator Hinz Pak’s winning design for Uniqlo’s UT Grand Prix 2024.

Courtesy of Uniqlo

“I learned about Mona Lisa before learning art. She is the best piece for everyone to start their art journey,” the Hong Kong-born artist said in his acceptance speech. “Artwork is like everyday food: it’s simple, delicious and nutritious. Printing the selected works on T-shirts is perhaps the simplest way to spread art and creativity.”

Koji Yanai, senior executive officer of Fast Retailing, Uniqlo’s parent company, said the Japanese high-street giant is committed to making art more accessible.

“We would like to continue to make art for all and bring the Louvre experience to as many people in the world as possible. I believe this art can truly be enjoyed by everyone,” he said.

Stéphanie Hussonnois-Bouhayati, director of external relations and communication at the Louvre, said the T-shirt was an effective way to popularize art.

“It’s something everyone has in their wardrobe and it can also be a manifesto,” she told WWD. “Our collaboration with Uniqlo is about giving people access to culture, and the T-shirt is a gateway.”

The Uniqlo pop-up at the Louvre Museum

The Uniqlo pop-up at the Louvre Museum.

Courtesy of Uniqlo

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