29 January 2008
Shibuya 109-2 to Expand Men's into 7th Floor
Popular O-nii-kei style takes over another floor of the shopping building read on >>

From April 19, 2008, the seventh floor of Tokyo shopping building Shibuya 109-2 (Tokyu Mall Development) will be renovated to be solely dedicated to men's brands. Eight apparel brands will offer new shops: Silver Bullet, Kingdom, Love Rays, Wild Party, Daisy, MTB Homme, Red Cat, and Brodiaea. 

Thanks to the overall popularity of the "O-nii-kei" style in men's fashion, the 5th and 6th floors have seen extremely high revenues in the last year. Giving another floor to male fashion in a building usually known for catering to high school girls could only mean that Tokyu has very high expectations about the O-nii-kei brands in the coming year.

For reference, please read our previous articles on O-nii-kei as well as Tokyo shopping buildings

Keywords: O-nii-kei
28 January 2008
Itochu Signs Five-Year Exclusive Deal with Nano-Tex
High-tech fabric maker to expand into Japan read on >> Trading company Itochu has signed a five-year exclusive sales and trademark usage contract with California "nano technology" textile firm Nano-Tex. Itochu is hoping to sell Nano-Tex's high-tech fabrics and textiles to around fifty Japanese manufacturers and labels over the next few years.
Keywords: Itochu
22 January 2008
Yomiuri Online Covers "Pre-Worn" Clothing Scandal
Japanese apparel makers in trouble for selling "new" merchandise pre-worn by store staff read on >> We recommend that you read the Yomiuri Online article "Row brews over modeled clothes" about Japanese apparel makers running into trouble for selling "new" merchandise to customers that had been pre-worn by store staff.
22 January 2008
First Japanese Luigi Borrelli Store to Open in Roppongi
99-square meter location on Roppongi's exclusive Keyakizaka Street read on >>

With help of Shizuoka-based company Island, Italian men's clothier Luigi Borrelli will open its first Japanese standalone store on Roppongi's exclusive Keyakizaka Street, with operations commencing on March 7. The shop will be 99 square-meters in total area.

Trading company Itochu holds exclusive rights to import and sell Luigi Borrelli, but Island handles the actual operations for Luigi Borrelli in Japan.

Keywords: Roppongi , Itochu
21 January 2008
Tokyo Girls Collection Announces Brand Line-up
Sixth installment of TGC to debut four brands and feature 23 total read on >>

Popular "real clothes" fashion show Tokyo Girls Collection has announced a line-up of 23 brands — including four new brand "debuts" — for its 6th installment to be held on March 15, 2008 at the National Yoyogi Stadium.

The collection show has adopted the general theme "Colorful Departures." Performing musical artists include popular male R&B duo CHEMISTRY

Participating brands include Alba Rosa, blondy, Cecil McBee, deicy, Double Standard Clothing, HbG, Jolly Boutique, Litira, Luv.Ronde, *MARS, Me, Palms&Labskie, Ravijour, Smork by Language, snidel, Spiral Girl, swanky, titty & co., Vivayou.

For reference, see our article on Tokyo Girls Collection from June 2007. 

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection
18 January 2008
Diesel Japan to Open Flagship in Ginza
April 23 open for brand's biggest store in Asia. read on >>

Diesel Japan will open a flagship store in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo on April 23. This store will be the biggest flagship in Asia.

This new Diesel flagship retail location will use three stories of the 11-story building and total 1000 square meters of floor space.

With a Ginza building boom among the European luxury houses and jewelry purveyors, we can speculate that Diesel wanted this upscale atmosphere to rub off on its brand. 

Keywords: Ginza , Diesel
18 January 2008
Gucci Group Takes Total Control of Balenciaga Japan
Gucci buys out Restir Holdings' 51% stake read on >>

Gucci Group has bought out the 51% of Balenciaga Japan shares held by Restir Holdings. This gives sole ownership of Balenciaga Japan to Gucci.

Balenciaga Japan was established on June 30, 2006 and currently has five directly-managed locations.  

Keywords: Restir Holdings , Balenciaga , Gucci
18 January 2008
Neil Barrett Signs with PMD Japan
Osaka-based PMD to handle imports and sales for British designer from AW 2008 read on >>

Neil Barrett has signed an exclusive import and sales contract with Osaka-based company PMD Japan to commence with the 2008 Autumn/Winter collection.

PMD has plans to open a Neil Barrett flagship for Aoyama in August of this year that will sell both the Men's and Women's line. With sales for his Japan only second-line Black Barrett by Neil Barrett apparently beating expectations, the British designer has a good chance of establishing greater position in the Japanese market with his first line. 

PMD currently handles Japanese sales for Pringle of Scotland. Neil Barrett is currently imported by Sann Freres.

Keywords: Aoyama , Neil Barrett
17 January 2008
MyVoice Survey on Most Owned, Most Happy-to-Receive Brands
Burberry owned, Louis Vuitton happily received read on >>

On January 11, survey company MyVoice released its findings from a December 2007 poll asking 14,452 participants about the luxury brands they owned and desire.

Burberry topped the list of most owned brands at 30%, followed by Louis Vuitton at 25%, and Gucci at 22%. In terms of items possessed, bags took #1 at 62% with wallets at 54%, fashion accessories at 37%, other accessories at 32%, and jewelry at 29%.

47% of surveyed bought the items at the brand's directly-managed stores, while 37% purchased them at overseas locations. 39% decided on the purchase from seeing the item in the store, while 21% decided from magazine articles and 17% decided from magazine advertisements.

When asked which brand they would most like to receive, Louis Vuitton topped the list at 10%, followed by Hermès at 6.4% and Burberry at 4.2%. The brands most disliked as presents were Dunhill and Chanel (at a mere 3.8% and 3.6% respectively), but a large majority did not show any particular ill-feelings towards luxury brands.  


Keywords: Dunhill , Chanel , Hermes , luxury , Gucci
17 January 2008
United Arrows Announces Spring 2008 Store Expansion Plan
Select shop chain to open Drawer in Marunouchi, Chrome Hearts in Fukuoka read on >>

Top select shop chain United Arrows has announced its store expansion plan for Spring 2008.

UA will open its fifth location for fashion-forward women's boutique Drawer in the commercial district of Marunouchi. The store will be located in the former location of UA's Darjeeling Days shop (UA recently abandoned standalone stores for the Darjeeling brand, which targeted middle-aged men).

Timed with the closing of UA's Shibuya Park Street (Koen doori) and Meiji Street stores in late March, a formal-oriented United Arrows and casual Beauty&Youth United Arrows will open in the B1, 1F, and 2F floors of Park Way Square 2, located on Park Street. Furthermore, a Beauty&Youth UA will open in Chiba's Funabashi Lalaport in May.

On February 29, UA will open a Fukuoka location for American accessories brand Chrome Hearts in department store Daimaru Fukuoka, and on March 25, a Nagoya location within shopping complex LaChic.

A Roppongi (Tokyo) location for Odette é Odile UNITED ARROWS will open this Spring, but United Arrows has yet to provide a set date.

Keywords: select shops , United Arrows
16 January 2008
Kokonoe Wins Exclusive Sales Right to DSQUARED
Japanese subsidiary of French Neuf to sell Italy-based brand read on >>

Kokonoe — Japanese subsidiary of French company Neuf — has signed an exclusive contract with Staff International to sell Italy-based brand DSQUARED2 starting in Autumn 2008.

Kokonoe already handles Japanese sales for Sofia Kokosalaki, also produced by Staff International.  

10 January 2008
Fashion Blogger Elastic Handicaps Top Men's Brands for 2008 S/S
Seasonal "Mote Brand" list gives gauge of domestic tastes read on >>

Although far from a scientific poll, fashion blogger "dale" from blog Elastic has released his horse-racing style "betting card" for the popularity of domestic and foreign men's brands in Spring/Summer season 2008. With most fashion magazines ignoring this kind of ranking or criticism, Elastic's seasonal chart gives a good sense of how fashion-conscious Japanese feel about certain brands at the moment.

The brands are listed alphabetically (by the Japanese order) with special markings revealing the author's predictions. In the list of 18 popular brands, he handicaps those with the best chance at "winning." (Guide to symbols at the bottom.)

  PredictionBrand Name Notes
 1 в–іato 
 2 в–ІVanquishMost popular O-nii-kei brand
 3 в–ІH&MFinally coming to Japan this year
 4 в—‹N. HoolywoodDesign based on vintage
 5 в–іJohn Lawrence Sullivan
Appeals to a wide range of guys 
 6 wjkWild and adult style
 7 Tornado Mart
Proto O-nii-kei
 8 HalbHalb-Uniqlo down jacket collaboration is popular
 9 hare People who wear head-to-toe hare are called "Hareraa"
 10 BalenciagaShoes are popular with both boys and girls
 11 Band of Outsiders
Shirts are popular
 12 PLAY Comme des GarçonsGarçons at value price
 13 в—ЋBlack Barrett by Neil Barrett
Lots of items sold-out
 14 xHysteric Glamour
Coming back in style
 15 Paul Smith
#1 on the goo brand ranking poll
 16 Maison Martin Margiela
Incognito sunglasses attracting attention
 17 Uniqlo
Web strategy is working
 18 Lanvin
Designer brand with most momentum


Guide to symbols:

в—Ћ - Likely winner

в—‹ - Challenger for the top; 2nd place

в–І - 3rd place, with power to take down first place

в–і - 4th place; dark horse; could win depending on developments

x - Take notice. Big chance of being a dark horse, but probably won't win 1st. 


10 January 2008
Ryohin Keikaku Predicts Record High Earnings
Company behind MUJI surpasses own financial expectations read on >>

The company behind Mujirushi Ryohin and MUJI — Ryohin Keikaku — has reported predictions for record high earnings in the 2008 fiscal year based on third-quarter results. Operating revenues are expected to top 169.4 billion JPY — a 7.9% increase from the previous year, while operating profits should be 18.1 billion JPY — a 9.2% increase from FY2007. Ordinary profits are predicted to be 18.3 billion JPY (up 8.1%) and net profits will be 10.1 billion JPY (up 8.5%).

The company attributes an increase in online sales and foreign stores as reason for increase in earnings. Ryohin Keikaku has also been able to improve their gross profitability.

10 January 2008
Super Cold Changing Rooms Gaining Popularity
Asahi Shimbun reports on Burton's -10ЛљC "cold rooms" read on >>

Asahi Shimbun has reported that consumers have come to love snowboard apparel manufacturer Burton's -10ЛљC (14ЛљF) changing rooms in their Osaka Shinsaibashi store. These "cold rooms" allow patrons to experience the ski, snowboarding, and winter gear in the proper usage climate. Customers can thus personally test the clothing for actual ability to warm the wearer on the ski slopes.

The cold rooms are apparently made from industrial-size refrigerators.  

09 January 2008
Shibuya 109-2 Opens to Big New Year Revenues
Oniikei trend bolsters recognition and sales for the shopping building read on >>

Thanks to the popularity of the "O-nii-kei" trend amongst Japanese male youth, sales on the "Men's" floors (5F and 6F) of the fashion building Shibuya 109-2 topped 74 million JPY for the single day January 2, according to Senken Shimbun. This figure is almost as much as the total building revenues from last year's January 2 sale. Around 2400 customers came to the shopping building on this first day of operations, with men making up around 80% of that total.

(For reference, read our article on the O-nii-kei trend from August 2007.)

Keywords: O-nii-kei , Shibuya 109
09 January 2008
Tiffany to Give Foundation Prize in Japan
American jewelry giant to award groups preserving traditional Japanese culture read on >>

In partnership with the Japan Center for International Exchange, American jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. has created a "Tiffany & Co. Foundation Prize" for Japan to award groups that preserve and celebrate traditional Japanese culture. The Foundation plans to give prizes to two organizations each year at a value of 2 million JPY. The first award will be presented in June.

According to its website, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation gives grants to "nonprofit organizations dedicated to the education and preservation of the arts and environmental conservation."

09 January 2008
Itochu Relinquishes Management of Tommy Hilfiger Japan
Itochu transfers ownership majority to the Tommy Hilfiger Group read on >>

Trading company Itochu will transfer management of Tommy Hilfiger Japan (THJ) to the Tommy Hilfiger Group. Itochu currently holds 75% of Tommy Hilfiger Japan's shares but will sell around 20-30% and transfer the other shares into non-voting preferred stock.

Tommy Hilfiger Japan currently operates 105 directly-managed stores as well as 60 shops within department stores.

Although the Tommy Hilfiger Group wants to take a more direct role in the Japanese company's strategic actions, this ownership transfer will not cause immediate changes in operation. Senken Shimbun is reporting that the company's managers will remain at THJ, and Itochu will continue to supply goods.

Keywords: Itochu
08 January 2008
Cecil McBee Launches "Big Sister" Brand, Fabulous
Japan Imagination to offer a slightly more upscale version of its popular ladies line read on >>

Japanese fashion manufacturer Japan Imagination will launch a slightly-more upscale version of its popular "real clothes" young ladies brand Cecil McBee called Cecil McBee Fabulous. The new line will target female consumers in their late 20, using more high-quality domestic production to secure a more luxurious sense to the clothing. The prices will be slightly higher than the main Cecil McBee line.

Cecil McBee Fabulous will be primarily sold in stores within urban and suburban train station buildings. Japan Imagination plans for around ten Fabulous stores by the year's end.  

08 January 2008
Sann Freres to Import Nina Ricci
French brand's first line coming to Japan starting with AW08 read on >>

Sann Freres — importer of European designer brands Neil Barrett, Raf Simons, and Alberta Ferretti — will start to import and sell French brand Nina Ricci from the '08-'09 Autumn/Winter collection. Mitsui & Co. Ltd. will act as the physical importer.

Retail will at first focus on shops within department stores and culminate in a Tokyo flagship for Fall 2008.  

Keywords: Sann Freres
08 January 2008
Al Bazar to Open First Overseas Branch in Tokyo
Milan's premier men's store comes to the upscale Hiroo neighborhood read on >>

Milan men's fashion speciality store Al Bazar will open its very first overseas branch in Tokyo on January 15 in the upscale neighborhood of Hiroo. The shop's area will be 76 square-meters. 

The Hiroo location will be managed by Al Bazar's wholly-owned subsdiary, Al Bazar Tokyo. The managers plan for the Tokyo shop to stick very close to the merchandising, service standards, and atmopshere of the original Milan location.

08 January 2008
Muji Wins Trademark Dispute in China
Mujirushi Ryohin wins back ability to freely use its own name in China read on >>

Japanese trendy "generic" goods retailer Ryohin Keikaku — the company behind Mujirushi Ryohin and MUJI — has won a trademark dispute in China against the Hong Kong company Jet Best Investment Limited.

In 1995, Jet Best filed registration for the trademark name "mujirushi ryohin" (in Chinese characters, з„ЎеЌ°и‰Їе“Ѓ), but in May 2000, Ryohin Keikaku asked for a formal legal cancellation of this original trademark registration. The Beijing High Court eventually ruled in Ryohin Keikaku's favor for both the Chinese character name з„ЎеЌ°и‰Їе“Ѓ as well as the romanized name "MUJI" in late 2007.

Ryohin Keikaku can now freely sell goods under both names in China. The dispute with Jet Best had significantly tied up the brand's China expansion.

Keywords: MUJI


Jan 01 2008
Michiko Koshino
Famed London-based Japanese designer talks to us about the differences in fashion cultures and her latest Japanese market activity
Keywords: Michiko Koshino


Jan 01 2008
Under-30 Women's Magazine Breakdown
A guide to the main market segmentation for young Japanese women's fashion magazines
Keywords: magazines , Men's , Ladies


Jan 01 2008
Top 2007 Hit Products in Japan
A look at the non-fashion items that defined the year 2007 and what they mean for the Japanese market
Keywords: socioeconomic class


Jan 01 2008
Tokyo Street Photos for December
Christmas love and winter warmth