When Japanese retail giant UNIQLO opened its global flagship store in New York’s hip SoHo neighbourhood in 2006, the brand arrived with a ‘contained’ bang.

In the lead up to the opening, the fashion retailer teamed up with production company Neverstop to produce an 11-week container pop-up store campaign.

The idea behind the campaign, drawn from UNIQLO’s tagline ‘Tokyo to New York’, was to convert two shipping containers into attractive, functional stores, and install them in sites around Manhattan, signifying the literal arrival of UNIQLO clothing to New York.

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The branded container stores were constructed by Lot-EK architects, who designed using mobility principles for easy navigation throughout the New York City area.

Each container was equipped with shelving space, cash-wrap and a fitting room.

Vertical windows aligned with shelving to display folded merchandise on the exterior – the aesthetic of which reflects UNIQLO’s signature in-store warehouse-like stacks of clothing.


The fitting room is a custom-designed duct, which gathers like an accordion towards the ceiling by a manually cranked pulley system.

Linear bands of light, on both the floor and ceiling, light the stores, while dressing mirrors line both ends of the containers, visually elongating the limited space.


The two 6-metre containers toured New York City as retail pop-up shops, introducing Uniqlo to the United States.

Beginning Labor Day Weekend, the container stores visited street fairs, concerts, sporting events, city parks, trendy neighbourhoods, and ultimately became the showpiece for the ribbon cutting at the November launch event of the downtown flagship store opening.

This time-lapse video shows the arrival of the stores in New York’s busy Union Square.