Uniqlo, Brand of the Rising Sun

The hip clothing retailer hopes a new Manhattan flagship—and a fresh take on Japanese design for the masses—will lure U.S. shoppers

Plain sliding doors, neat minimalist shelves, and neutral-colored floor coverings—the design elements of Uniqlo's new global flagship store sound downright generic. But each detail in the Japanese casual-clothing retailer's 36,000-sq. ft. building, the largest single-brand store to open in Manhattan's SoHo shopping district, is actually a nod to the contemporary domestic and retail interiors of Tokyo or Osaka. The doors evoke paper shoji screens, the spare storage elements suggest those found in a typical Japanese home, and the plain, look-alike rugs are tatami mats.

Domae says he's aiming for $1 billion in sales by 2010 for Uniqlo USA alone. "This year, we have to do a lot of advertising. Next year, we'll have to be concerned with profits."

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