Onitsuka Tiger, the running shoes and apparel label that became Asics but which is still sold as a standalone brand, has opened a flagship store in Milan.
The term ‘flagship’ is bandied around with rather too much freedom these days, but this one really does merit the name. At 220 sq m, it is not a huge space, but it does pack three semi-discrete areas into the interior: ‘Laboratory’, ‘The Japanese Black Lacquer Box’ and ‘The Gallery’. The former is a quiet, grey space in which the product stands out, the ‘Box’ is a high gloss area, supposed to encapsulate “the Japanese soul” (according to the company), while ‘The Gallery’ is a show space that makes use of the brand’s signature yellow.
Leaving the rationale for each space aside, what all of this perhaps shows is that flagships don’t have to be enormous, but they do have to be different and the manner in which Asics has melded the old with the Japanese new in this location makes the point.