Monocle has an eye for the Japanese market

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The Independent Online

Global affairs magazine Monocle opens its first Japanese retail outlet on Saturday with a cocktail party on Thursday marking the occasion.

The Tokyo store of the rapidly expanding brand will stock its own products as well as a range of designer items that will appeal to creative consumers and the "younger, cooler wedge of the market," according to Tyler Brûlé, editor in chief of Monocle.

The media side of the firm has emerged to fill the need for a magazine that covers a wide range of issues, from current affairs through fashion, design, business, art and culture, and has developed a firm following among a discerning audience of readers who travel widely. The Monocle stores are an extension of that ambition.

"Any Monocle reader will know that we have long admired retail in Japan, particularly at Aoyama-dori, and we could not be happier to be opening our very own shop there," he said.

"This is an ideal location for our Tokyo market and also an outstanding billboard for our brand."

The store will be within the Francfranc store, which will also be marking its opening on the famous shopping street at the same time.

Aoyama-dori is one of the most fashionable shopping districts in the Japanese capital and is home to numerous brand-name boutiques - everything from Max Mara to Stella McCartney, Prada and Issey Miyake - meaning Monocle is in good company.

The store will be Monocle's third permanent outlet, after London and Los Angeles, with seasonal stores held in Paris, Stockholm, Palma de Mallorca and Hong Kong to date.

The shop will stock Monocle's range of home and lifestyle products, including Monocle X Comme des Garcons hinoki fragrances and candles, shirts by Oliver Spencer and Monocle-brand notebooks.

Other items will include collaborations with Drakes of London, Malmsten and BlackBerry, while the store will also launch the much-anticipated summer shoe collection by Hiroshi Tsubouchi and a line of Hackett polo shirts.

"When we launched the magazine three and a half years ago, we could see that Japan had fallen out of fashion because people were asking us why we were opening a news bureau in Tokyo," Brûlé told Relaxnews. "It was almost as if Japan had become something of a freak show, a caricature of itself.

"But this is still the world's second-largest economy, there are a lot of good stores and when it comes to quality of life, I travel a lot between Asia and London and I would always choose to live here.

"Japan continues to sail in its own direction - for reasons both good and bad - and in an increasingly homogenized world, that makes things very interesting," he added.

Launched in February 2007 and based in London, Monocle operates a magazine, website and retail outlet. The company plans to open its next shop in New York this summer.

The Monocle Shop, 3-11-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

www.monocle.com

JR

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