United Arrows Ltd., Tokyo (Japan)
Polo shirts, tweed suits, school uniform-style blazers, buttondown shirts, chinos, and penny loafers: casual cool, with a drop of Ivy League and a touch of understated quality. That is the formula United Arrows used to become one of biggest fashion and textile companies in Japan. It was no small feat: Japan is home to one of the world’s largest fashion markets as well as to a demanding customer base. United Arrows opened its first store in 1989 in Harajuku, one of Tokyo’s trendy areas for fashion, where a considerable number of fashion shops, café and restaurants are located. A few years later and on the steep rise to the top, United Arrows opened between four and ten shops a month. Now, the company has more than a dozen different international brands under its umbrella and partners with other multinational brands and department stores in Europe and North America. At the United Arrows’ headquarters, 520 employees work on everything from creation to administration. USM Modular Furniture has been in use here for the past few years. The chairman of the board chose beige quite spontaneously while visiting the USM showroom in Tokyo. He was simply enthralled by the new color.