It has been a while since I did a post in this category but it is not very often that I discover new brands or shops and feature them here. I was recently told that those posts have been interesting and useful as people started following brands I showed here. Very happy to hear that! Here it is another post then featuring MUJI.
MUJI (Mujirushi Ryohin)
I am very excited to share MUJI with you. I discovered it via my photographer/friend Bart Pajak who wears their trainers all the time. Nobody ever in “menswear” industry mentioned this brand and I find it to be really interesting.
Even now in winter! He actually buys a new pair every now and then to keep those in the rotation fresh and new. I spotted the navy pair he had in the summer – they looked simple, lightweight, fabric was airy and made of vivid navy cotton fabric.
Launched in 1980 in Japan Muji is all about product, value and functionality.
Muji’s product range is huge. It is not strictly about menswear, in fact it is little about it. As you can see on the photo below they do lots of different stuff. Travel accessories called MUJI Go (highly recommend you have a look!) are well know, as is stationary and home products. They do well known aroma diffusers, gel pens, storage products and others.
You probably have not heard about Muji, I haven’t either, at least not up until very recently. Hopefully you discover this brand today.
It should be little of surprise for you as Muji (name used outside of Japan), or Mujirushi Ryohin, is much more focused on design and functionality and so much less on branding.
Mujirushi Ryohin, translates to no-brand quality product, was founded in Japan in 1980s. In its President – Satoru Matsuzaki’s – words “The idea is to take Japanese products to the overseas market”. Then explains Muji’s idea further: “Muji came into that (rapid economic growth in Japan in 1980s) setting with a different idea “all value, no frills”. Our idea was that you shouldn’t sell your product with a brand name or a logo. Even now our garments have the logo only on the price tag but there is no Muji logo sewn into the product itself”.
Muji’s fashion products vary season by season. They are always similar in style and value. Never too expensive. Never branded and always toned down and classic. Organic cotton shirts, merino wool jumpers, down jackets (similar to biggest product of Uniqlo) or trousers.
Of course, famous designer’s names are a good association for us but it’s not the Muji way to push products by talking about big names.Satoru Matsuzaki for Monocle, Issue 87.
Apart from some very interesting Muji products I saw in their London store in travel accessories department, one of their most famous products is the gel pen. They cost 0.6€ (actually more in the UK) and are Muji’s President favourite product. “Nothing beats this pen for cost performance”, he says.
This is the approach I really value. Great value for money, value per use, cost per use etc. You name it. Those trainers I mentioned earlier – they cost £24.99. Other products in London store a little pricey for what they are but apparently they will get cheaper in 2019. As part of their strategy to make products offered in Europe as affordable as those in Japan.
The store itself also is going to get much bigger to feature more products. For example, newly launched New York store is about 1000ft2. Opening new stores is Muji’s focus after succeeding in Japan. There are 30 new stores being open in China every year, US will follow.
Personally can’t wait for the London stores to get bigger and have wider range of products. It would also be great idea to buy some of their basic products and test against competition, say Uniqlo?
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