When I was in Paris a few weeks month (already!) ago I did a bit of shopping, mostly looking around cool looking shop. One of my favorites and one that would cost me a bundle if they were in Montréal was Muji. I could probably buy 2/3 of the clothes they sell and half the home/office stuff. One description would be that it’s a mix of Zone, Ikea, Caban, Zara and Club Monaco. Innacurate, but gives you an idea.

What’s interesting is the concept and the way it’s executed. Muji is short for Mujirushi Ryohin, Japanese for “no label, quality goods”. For example, the Chucks like sneakers I bought have a tiny (about the size of a Levi’s red tab) label inside for the “made in”, there’s the size in a simple font at the bottom and that’s it. No logo, no brand or model name, nothing molded in the sole, nothing. Same goes for everything they sell. Loved the place.

But, as Fast Company, who are covering them this month mention, no branding is in itself a form of branding.

Of course, Muji’s no-brand stance is a branding exercise in itself. Some critics pooh-pooh the conceit as too self-conscious and contrived.

Ad Busters have a similar problem, no brand becomes the brand.