“Marui Co., Ltd. (株式会社丸井 Kabushiki-gaisha Marui) (TYO: 8252) is a Japanese retail company which operates a chain of department stores in Tokyo. They are best known for their women's fashion and accessories.
In 2003–4 the company generated US$2.75 billion in revenues. Its president is Tadao Aoi.”
Think Japanese street fashion: Harajuku, Shibuya (below), etc.
Marui will be launching an English, French, and Japanese language e-commerce site on December 1st, 2007. They will begin by selling girl’s brands of the FRUiTS and Kera variety such as Super Lovers, Sexy Dynamite London, and Baby, The Stars Shine Bright in addition to offering other stuff from Japan like metal accessories, lacquer ware, household goods, designer bags, wallets, new items reflecting traditional culture and such. Some of these are really cool. Orders will be taken with Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal with an 8-day return policy.
I’m down for this because Marui is doing what the anime industry should be doing: making their products directly available to international customers. Faux “J-fashion” brands such as tokidoki and Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers are the clothing equivalent of Original English Language manga, except that they seem to be selling really well down at the mall. Marui (and myself) hope to balance things out by making the real thing accessible to the folks who want it.
I’m doing general consulting on this project and rewriting the site text here and there. In addition, I’ll also be contributing a series of weekly columns. The first one will be an interview with Brian Flynn, the owner and president of toy-design-clothing brand Super 7. Kera magazine will also be supplying exclusive English language content, and there will be large sections devoted to music and pop culture as well, so even if you aren't a clothes horse there will still be some interesting stuff to look at (along with maybe a few references to Counter ESPY and the Taishomei).
I’ll be sure to start yelling about this with the links once the site goes live in a few days. In the meantime, spread the word, put some pennies in a piggy bank, and start planning your outfits in advance with the help of my 2007 book Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook. I just had to plug it.