Hugely popular discount casual chain Uniqlo has enlisted the support of British actor Orlando Bloom for its new global advertising campaign.

The 33-year-old star of such hit movies as Pirates of the Caribbean appears in a documentary-style advertisement that shows him snowboarding on a winter morning and wearing items from Uniqlo's new range of clothes.

An updated line of crew neck HeatTech shirts is being released, which incorporates exothermic and insulating fabrics that absorbs the moisture generated by the body and converts it into heat. Milk protein, which contains natural amino acids, has been combined with the fibres to ensure the fabric is smooth and soft.

Clad also in a down parka, Bloom says on the soundtrack that Uniqlo clothes are perfect for winter days when you just have to get out, whatever the weather. Actress Charlize Theron is also a brand ambassador for the chain.

The new adverts aired for the first time in Japan on Thursday and are part of the plan by Fast Retailing Co., the company behind the brand, to expand aggressively abroad. The company also recently unveiled its new global slogan "Made for All."

In a statement released by the company, Bloom said he knew of the Uniqlo brand - but had not previously worn any of the products.

"The clothes are comfortable and the texture is great," he said. "They are the kind of unpretentious clothes that anyone can wear."

To underline its ambitions in the domestic market, Fast Retailing on Friday opened the first Uniqlo global flagship store in Japan in the Shinsaibashi shopping district of Osaka.

An estimated 1,000 people lined up ahead of the grand opening of the shop, which has a total store space of around 2,650 square meters and is designed to offer the brand's latest designs to a wide range of consumers.

Uniqlo already has global flagship outlets in New York, Paris, London and Shanghai and plans to open a second flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo in the autumn or winter of 2011.

The company is facing increased competition from other international clothing chains, such as British-based Topshop, which opened its fourth - and largest - outlet in Japan in September, as well as new stores operated by Sweden's H&M chain and Spain's Zara.

JR

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