United Arrows

The established chain of multi-brand retailers continues to epitomise Japan’s rigorous approach to quality and exemplary service.

Menswear Q&A

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United Arrows: A Unique Japanese Retail Philosophy

United Arrows: A Unique Japanese Retail Philosophy

TOKYO, Japan — With over 160 stores in Japan, the publicly-listed United Arrows is a major force in menswear retail. But despite its hefty size, its approach is rooted in the distinctly human values of service, integrity and respect. Founded in 1989, the brand opened its first store in Tokyo’s Shibuya-ka Jingumae district in 1990. Within two years, the brand began to identify itself with the phrase “our stores, for our customers.” Today, however, United Arrows defines its philosophy as fulfilling “the standards of the Japanese lifestyle,” expressed through its rigorous approach to service, product offering and societal impact.

BoF spoke to Hirofumi Kurino, creative director of United Arrows, to learn more. 

BoF: What makes United Arrows so successful? It seems the company’s philosophy is very much at the heart of its commercial activities.

HK: We think of ourselves as a retail store, not a fashion company. We are a retailer, so we serve our customers. This is always the most important thing for us. Maybe in our mind we are subconsciously inspired by Taoism, a very oriental, Japanese philosophy: to be honest and to follow the road to being a good merchant.

BoF: How does this approach manifest itself practically?

HK: The easiest way that we show it is the service in the shop. Our training for a sales person is really strict, really deep and it takes a very long time.

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