Last fall Yanai, below left, president and CEO of Fast Retailing, based in Yamaguchi, Japan, opened the first Uniqlo (short for "unique clothing") global flagship store, in New York City's SoHo, below right. At 36,000 sq. ft., Yanai's emporium is a monument to his rapidly growing retail empire, which also includes 760 stores in Japan, China, South Korea and Britain. Following the pattern cut by fast-fashion rival H&M, Uniqlo has reached out to trendy designers like Lutz & Patmos, Alice Roi and Phillip Lim to design capsule collections. So far, the place dubbed the Japanese Gap has attracted attention for its masses of brightly colored cashmere sweaters and T shirts, which sell at rock-bottom prices. But the brand also offers racks of trendy fashion items.
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