Best incipient retail phenomenon (2008)


New York cool hunters getting their shop on in Tokyo, Paris, and London have long made a beeline for MUJI, the Japanese retailer whose affordable, super-minimalist, environmentally conscious product lines have developed a global cult following. Short for Mujirushi Ryohin, meaning "No-brand quality goods," MUJI is the place to go for the perfect pair of flip-flops, notebooks of Platonic simplicity, soap dispensers Donald Judd would have loved, or DVD players taking their design cues from the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. A limited selection of MUJI products can be found at the MOMA design store and at least one off-the-map boutique in Williamsburg, but with the arrival of a 5,000-square-foot flagship store in the New York Times Building and an outpost in Soho set to open by the end of the year, the hottest Japanese import since sushi is poised to set off a retail stampede of Godzilla-like proportions.


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