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Just because Uniqlo has expressed disinterest in opening a flagship in Chicago doesn't mean we Chicagoans express a disinterest in Uniqlo, or the Japanese culture for that matter. Just today, we saw on Twitter that Ukrainian Village boutique Sir & Madame is Instagramming in Tokyo right now. Even founder of Mirai Sushi, chef Miae Lim has recently captured interest of the Tribune, Grubstreet and Eater by leaving contemporary sushi destination and Dukes of Melrose star Christos Garkinos' favorite place, Japonais.
Anywho, Japan is on the mind and we heard via the tipline that something Japanese could be going into this space right here on Walton that once was Pane Caldo. After the jump are our top Five picks of what retail brands we'd love to see enter the space.
Bape on Greene Street in New York
Could it be Bape? The most influential stockist in the city to carry the arty streetwear brand made popular by a putting shoes on sushi conveyor belts is RSVP Gallery in Wicker Park. So if the brand ever decides to open a store here, it'd make sense to open a little closer to stores like Nike and Burton Topshop. On the same token, it'd make sense to open where the big money is—Gold Coast.
Superdry in le Touquet, France
Could it be Superdry? The brand is Japanese-inspired street wear, made by a British company so it's not technically Japanese, it just has the aesthetic. Years ago WWD said that Chicago would soon have a Superdry, but still, there's no new news that we know of.
Uniqlo's collaboration with Jil Sander in 2009
Could it be a +J Pop-up? Mega brand Uniqlo has said they want no part of Chicago and even before that ended their collaboration with Jil Sander but it's worth the time to fantasize about the brand opening a throw back pop-up that would sell a +J re-edition. Or maybe a Uniqlo-branded foosball tournament space, similar in to the promotional roller rink they did in New York in 2011. That would be nice.
Some of the world's most durable Japanese denim
Could it be Iron Heart? This is a high-end Japanese denim brand that took over an already Japan brand-heavy store on New York's Lower East Side last November for a 10-day pop up. According to WWD, the Tokyo-based brand has a "huge fan base" in the U.S..
The Muji in Duesseldorf
Even though Chicago is a food town, not really earning international recognition as a shopping destination, any of these stores would work phenomenally at this location and could fare well. Yet with our luck, it may as well just be another Gold Coast sushi place.