How United Arrows Became Huge In Japan (And Ready For Global Expansion)

by MR Magazine Staff

Last year, United Arrows, the Japanese conglomerate of rarefied fashion boutiques, opened its 256th store, in Roppongi Hills. The new flagship occupies two sprawling floors of a massive development in one of Tokyo’s most upscale districts. The 54-story tower and surrounding mega-complex are home to an art museum, a nine-screen cinema, a five-star hotel, and apartments that can be rented for about $23,000 a month. It is United Arrows’ largest store ever, and while it’s a fraction of the size of a Barneys or a Bloomingdale’s, it rivals any retailer in the world, big or small, at stimulating the fashion and design zones of your cerebral cortex. On a recent trip to Tokyo, I visited many United Arrows shops—they’re seemingly everywhere in the city, like Starbucks for high-end clothes—and I bought many things, including a fleece from the nearly impossible-to-find Japanese brand Mountain Research, a pair of navy pleated trousers cut from stretchy tracksuit material from Beauty & Youth (one of United Arrows’ many sub-brands), some perfectly faded vintage Levi’s 501s, and a bright blue crushed velvet scarf that I basically haven’t taken off since. And before you judge me and my velvet scarf, just know that shopping in Japan will inspire you to take your personal style to adventurous new heights. United Arrows is precisely engineered to create opportunities for that to happen. Read more at GQ Style.