Thursday, November 30, 2006

Uniqlo injects Eastern design into western retail

Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo falls into the same category as H&M for me -- a trendy-looking store that I'd never actually buy anything in, but is visually appealing and shoppable nonetheless. Apparently I'm not the only one to think so either (well, the looks cool part, anyway, I'm sure these stores are heavily shopped), since BusinessWeek decided to do an article on their approach to retail design a few weeks ago. Semi-famous retail architect Masamichi Katayama designed the New York flagship store that's getting all the attention, and in the article he describes the store's "Japanese-ness" as "seiriseiton, " which he then further translates into "simplicity" and "orderliness."

While spartan layouts and stylish fixtures have long been present in tiny boutiques and haute couture specialty retailers, Uniqlo is trying to blend their casually trendy offerings with a high style, dare I say upscale retail design that oozes with simplicity and orderliness. From what I've seen, I certainly think they've met their design goals.

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