Wagamama wants young designers to create new uniform

Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama is targeting young designers with a competition to design a new staff uniform.

The group, which has more than 100 restaurants worldwide, is trying to connect with its youth market, according to Ingrid Williamson, Wagamama marketing co-ordinator. ‘It is targeting students and young people, but anyone can enter,’ she says.

The campaign has been conceived by PR and marketing agency The Lounge Group, which specialises in marketing initiatives aimed at the under-35s.

Williamson says the brand strategy exercise will prove a ‘creative challenge’ to competition entrants, whose responses must reflect the restaurant chain’s ‘cultural needs’ and also ‘be reflective’ of the brand. A formal brief is currently being developed for entrants, and the competition will launch in October. 

The winning uniform for the UK will be selected from a shortlist by Wagamama restaurant staff.

According to Williamson, if the competition is successful the uniform may be rolled out to other countries, where appropriate. There is a possibility, too, of addressing other design challenges by competitions. ‘Hypothetically, we can explore menus and graphics [in this way] if it’s a success,’ she says.

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  • Londonbound November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Wagamama should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting designers like this. Why don’t they do the decent thing and PAY for the hundreds of design drafts they’re going to get for free from well-meaning but silly young people? Maybe there are some clothes and shoe designers who’d like to give me a whole shedload of free things to wear, and once I’ve tried them all out I can let announce in a few months’ time which original outfit ‘wins’.

  • AndyM November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I agree with the first post. There should definitely be more incentive to enter then sheer pride alone, especially with the possible rebranding outcomes. I hope Wagamama take this into account when they write their formal brief.

    It may sound petty to some, but it’s simply not a competition without a prize!

  • T November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Are young designers silly young people?

  • Louise November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I completely agree with the comment above. While competitions can be a great opportunity for young designers with exposure IF they WIN, a well-known company like Wagamama should be offering more rewards for the entries. They clearly have the money to establish their brand and shouldn’t be lazily sitting back doing nothing while hundreds of designs come flooding in to them for free…

  • Simon November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Someone who is not willing to pay is not a good client, young designers should not be exploited we all need to live!

  • Jamie November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I’m commenting on behalf of the Lounge – we’re working with wagamama to launch this competition, and would like to clarify that it is in no way intended to exploit anyone who enters it.

    We’ll be announcing full details of the competition when it launches in October, together with information about the prize we are offering for the winner – which will include not only the chance to work with professional designers but also the payment of a cash fee for the use of the successful design.”

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