it's no longer beijing and shanghai that boast the most sophisticated retail infrastructures in china. despite a slowing economic growth and a government crackdown on luxury spending, a significant change can be seen in the shopping landscape of the country's second-tier cities. in fact so much so, that a few of these may join the major league anytime soon. the most likely contender is chengdu, a boomtown in southwest china with a population of almost 15 million. an increasing number of these inhabitants are able to enjoy the accumulated riches, spawning an unprecedented emergence of a new lifestyle infrastructure that adds to an accelerated change of chengdu's downtown skyline.
a little while ago chengdu-based retailer lessin group launched j.i, an upscale multi-brand store extension of maison mode, the company's existing department store in the heart of the city. the j.i store is the first of a series of eponymous multi-brand stores that will be rolled out nationwide in coming years. occupying an expansive 12,000 sqm. [129,167 sq.ft.], the store features a sleek interior design by architecture practice line-inc. from tokyo. upon entering j.i shoppers encounter a tiled plaza of sorts, lit by huge faux skylights. the open space is sparsely furnished with vintage furniture pieces and displays, both featuring coveted merchandise.
but the shop's real treasures can be found in a large number of booths that surround the open space. each of these booths is home to a different fashion brand and their meticulously designed interiors reflect their identity, thus cleverly creating a unique shop-in-shop feel. catering to chengdu's savvy demographic of young shoppers, j.i stocks both men's and women's collections by some of the very best contemporary labels from japan, including white mountaineering, soph., muveil, frapbois and undercover. location: maison mode sky one, 30 renmin nan lu, third floor [jinjiang].