MUJI is a minimalist clothing, homeware, and food store founded in Japan in 1980 under the name 無印良品, or Mujirushi Ryōhin in Romanji.
The two words mean “no-brand quality goods”, which signifies the store’s ideals in producing products that don’t need flash and flair, but rather are sold by their timeless appearance and long-lasting quality. After opening stores in Japan and expanding to London in the early 1990s, the brand changed to MUJI in 1999, which has been used ever since.
The idea behind “no-brand quality goods” branches from the products themselves to the way the business conducts its advertising and marketing. Little money is spent on promoting the brand, relying mostly on word-of-mouth and being at the helm of the anti-brand movement. This no-brand minimalistic approach can also be seen as a creative outlet for customers; MUJI has a t-shirt with a rubber square which people can create their own designs, and also sells paper products that can be stamped on and decorated in-store for free.
I happened on the MUJI store in Williamsburg, New York by chance when I went there on vacation with my significant other for his birthday last spring. I was impressed by the store set up and what it offered. Having only been opened for 8 months at that time, it included MUJI’s signature apparel, kitchenware, tableware, furniture, interior accessories, stationery, travel items, and even skincare. I also learned it is MUJI’s flagship-exclusive embroidery station – their bespoke service allows people to customize textile items, offering over 300 designs to choose from.
The palette of MUJI is every minimalist’s dream; light wood, with gray, white, and black can be seen everywhere, but not without the splash of maroon iconic in MUJI’s logo. Plants decorate the stores to give a sense of one with nature and the environment. Dark brown wicker baskets offer for storage without being fussy.
For their apparel, MUJI has decided to take classic and comfortable route; the majority of their clothing offers are loungewear with simplicity, which trickles over into their business casual wear as well. Their homeware offerings have this lounge-like quality to them also; for MUJI, it’s all about being effortless.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of MUJI’s inventory is their snacks, found on their online store. Crepe rolls of different flavors, maple cookies, chocolate and vanilla wafers, and many other desserts harken to their home country’s love for small, cute, and tasty treats.
MUJI currently has 328 directly operated stores and supplies to 124 outlets in Japan, along with 505 international retail outlets. There are also three hotels that use the MUJI moniker, located in Shenzhen, Beijing, and most recently, in Ginza.