Pop goes the cash register

February 4th, 2010 by Jason Jenkins

Photo credit: 177/Flickr

Photo credit: 177/Flickr

When supercool French music/fashion label Kitsune opens its temporary storefront in Omotesando next week, it will be the latest brand to dot Tokyo’s cityscape with a pop-up shop, those small, ephemeral retail venues that hip brands erect in high-traffic hot spots. The idea of a pop-up retail is usually to generate buzz and give the unsuspecting consumers who stumble onto the place the illusion of inside knowledge. Pop-up stores frequently sell limited-edition goods, as well, so an added exclusivity is built right in.

Last year saw a number of successful campaigns: Louis Vuitton built an underground lair in Ikebukuro while Ace Hotel set up an enclave inside Isetan Department store. Brand [RED] set up shop inside Harajuku’s Gap outlet while forward-thinking architecture firm, Klein Dytham, designed a temporary gallery, bar and livehouse at the top of the H&M building for Vitamin Water’s Japan launch.

Pop-up retail has been around for a while. Long enough, in fact, that scenesters like Kitsune now feel they need to differentiate themselves for the concept. They’re also incorporating locally-made materials, which will add value for many of Japan’s shopaholics. Some say the pop-up shop idea is played out, or rather becoming common enough to lose its edge. Fine with me. Perhaps it’s time for the pop-up shop to go family friendly.

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