29 July 2008
Itochu Adds Sixth Sublicensee for Lulu Guiness
Brand expands into jewelry read on >> Trading company Itochu has announced a new sublicensee for British brand Lulu Guinness, bringing the total to six. Hirate is now on board to do jewelry for the brand.

As of now, Elite is in charge of small leather goods, Uchino produces towels, Blooming Nakanishi produces hankerchiefs, Elite produces belts and gloves, and Aurora produces umbrellas.

Itochu hopes to get Lulu Guiness up to the ¥3 billion revenue leve in three years. There are also plans for a children's line, scarves, and sleepwear.

Keywords: Itochu
28 July 2008
Itochu Snags License to Lighting Bolt Maui
Planning on bringing the surf brand to Japan read on >> Itochu has signed a licensing contract with Hawaii surf brand Lighting Bolt Maui. The brand will hit Japan in 2009.

O-Tec will be the sublicensee for surfboars and wetsuits. Arm will produce men's wear, destined for select shops, while Fine Plus will handle more mass-market apparel items.

Itochu is hoping for an annual revenue base of ¥500 million for the first year, and ¥2 billion for the third year.

Keywords: Itochu
28 July 2008
Senken Shimbun Announces Top Apparel Company Ranking
World, Five Foxes, Sanyo Shokai, and Link Theory grow, but Onward Kashiyama, Renown, and Wacoal slightly decline read on >> Japanese fashion industry newspaper Senken Shimbun offered its list of top 30 Japanese fashion apparel and goods companies on July 28 and noted that 17 of the 30 saw a decrease in net sales compared with the previous year. Only 11 companies of the top 30 experienced positive growth, down from 19 companies in 2007. Link Theory Holdings was the sole company to see a double-digit increase in revenue, at 24.5%.

Senken Shimbun attributes these companies' less-than-stellar performance to the consumer downturn starting in autumn 2007.

The ranking by total apparel sales (in ¥ million, followed by percent change compared to the previous year):

1. World - 330, 996 (7.4%)
2. Onward Kashiyama - 197,540 (-1.3%)
3. Five Foxes - 175,252
4. Renown - 170,594 (-0.4%)
5. Wacoal Holdings - 165,761 (-0.4%)
6. Sanyo Shokai - 140,600 (2.7%)
7. Itokin - 121,164 (-9.5%)
8. Sanei International - 117,712 (7.0%)
9. Gunze - 94,880 (-2.9%)
10. Cross Plus - 70,831 (3.6%)
11. Takihyo - 64,646 (-4.0%)
12. Flandre - 61,110 (-4.1%)
13. Link Theory Holdings- 59,419 (24.5%)
14. Descente - 56,439 (5.5%)
15. Jun - 56,424 (-1.3%)
16. Triumph International Japan - 50,600 (1.2%)
17. Java Group - 49,640 (-4.9%)
18. Mizuno - 48,900 (4.5%)
19. Sazaby League - 48,428
20. Moririn - 42,454 (1.7%)
21. Asics - 41,590 (-2.5%)
22. Caitac Group - 40,879 (-18.6%)
23. Onisi - 39,090 (-9.3%)
24. Tokyo Style - 38,301 (-2.3%)
25. Naigai - 37,111 (-1.1%)
26. Minoya - 36,315 (-8.3%)
27. Goldwin - 35,864 (-2.6%)
28. Tomorrowland - 35,751 (4.6%)
29. Sun Rally Group - 34,132 (9.4%)
30. Pro Route Marumitsu - 34,006 (3.9%)

Keywords: Onward Kashiyama , Renown , World , Sanyo Shokai
27 July 2008
Onward Announces Expansion Plan for Joseph
Stores to open in Russia and Dubai read on >> Onward Holdings — parent company of Onward Kashiyama — has announced store expansion plans for its subsidiary, British apparel brand Joseph. The brand will open its first stores in Russia and Dubai this autumn. (The Dubai store will be a franchise.) The current four stores in the United Kingdom will be renovated, and the number of stores in the United States is set for an increase. Bags from Onward's other subsidiary Gibo Co. will be given a special exhibition in the London store this autumn.
The ultimate goal is to expand current revenues of ¥14.4 billion to ¥30 billion in five years.

Keywords: Joseph , Onward Kashiyama
25 July 2008
Itochu Fashion System to Import, Sell, and License Kaepa Shoes
Doshisha will be sub-licensee read on >> Itochu's subsidiary itochu fashion system has signed exclusive distribution, sales, and licensing contracts for American shoe brand Kaepa's footwear. ifs has held the master license for Kaepa apparel in Japan since 1999, and this contract works to add shoes to the partnership.

Doshisha will handle be the sublicensee for shoes.

Sales of Kaepa shoes will begin in October, and itochu fashion system hopes for 1.2 million pairs sold within five years.

Kaepa's Japan revenue stood at around ¥8 billion for the 2007FY. Shoes should add around ¥15 billion to net sales.

Keywords: shoes , Itochu
23 July 2008
Itochu Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal with Milly
Aiming for 1 billion JPY in net sales by the third year read on >> Trading company Itochu Corporation has signed an exclusive sales and distribution contract with New York brand Milly. Itochu's subsidiary Coronet will handle sales for the brand in Japan. Early distribution will first focus on select shops and then move onto shops within department stores and a standalone store.

Milly hopes for ¥1 billion in net sales within three years.

Keywords: Itochu
23 July 2008
Image Holdings to Liquidate Trans Continents
Popular select shop sacrificed to bring catalog sales giant back in the black read on >> In response to ¥800 million in losses posted in the 2008 fiscal year, catalog sales company Image Holdings has announced the liquidation of its subsidiary, popular select shop Trans Continents. Like Beams or United Arrows, Trans Continents carries both original lines for men and woman as well as other imported and domestic brands. All 21 Trans Continents locations will close by the end of August, even the brand new Nasu Garden Outlet location that opened on July 17.

Image acquired Trans Continents' parent company T.C. Terminal in 2004, but the catalog sales firm did not have the retail know-how to keep Trans Continents in the black. Image is also considering selling Trans Continents ladies apparel group company Tokyo Can.

Liquidation will should be completed by the end of the year, which will most likely result in a ¥200-300 million extraordinary loss.
23 July 2008
Marni to Change Marni Japan to Wholly-Owned Subsdiary
Italian brand breaks out of joint venture with Bus Stop read on >> Italian brand Marni will dissolve its joint venture for Marni Japan with Onward Kashiyama's select shop subsidiary Bus Stop Co., Ltd. and re-establish Marni Japan as a wholly-owned subsidiary on September 1.

Masanobu Maede
from the wholesaling and incubation business company Platform will take over CEO duties.

Marni Japan plans to expand wholesale to more specialty shops, do more accessories sales and found new accessories-only shops, rethink merchandising, and improve brand image. The brand currently wholesales to 20 stores in Japan, but this is planned to increase to 30 in 2009.

Keywords: Via Bus Stop , Marni , Onward Kashiyama
22 July 2008
Levi Strauss Japan Profits Down Double-Digits
Midterm report blames cooled-down denim market read on >> In its midterm report for May, Levi Strauss Japan reported a double-digit drop in profits. The company blames the figures on higher production costs and a cool-off in the denim/jeans market, especially for young women.

Revenues dropped 14.4% compared to last year to a total ¥11.44 billion. Sales management costs were reduced by ¥552 million, but operating profits shrank 27.4% to ¥622 million. Net profits declined 49.3% to ¥275 million, due to severance payments totaling ¥242 million.

Levi Strauss Japan expects revenues of ¥25 billion and net profits of ¥893 for the full term.

Keywords: Levi Strauss , jeans
14 July 2008
First Peek at Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garcons
Other than the multi-handle Mini HL, relatively minimalist products read on >> Fashion blog Nitrolicious has an early look at the six Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons collaboration party bags. Other than the multi-handle Mini HL, the pieces are relatively minimalist. The products go sale September 4 at CdG's Aoyama Kotto-doori mini-store.

11 July 2008
Fast Retailing Sells Off Aspesi Stake and Merges Three Companies
g.u., One Zone, and View Company to become single unit on September 1 read on >> Uniqlo's parent company Fast Retailing has sold its 60% stake of Aspesi Japan Co., Ltd. to the original Italian company, Alberto Aspesi & C S.p.A.

Fast Retailing originally bought into Aspesi through purchasing 60% of the shares of the Italian brand's original Japan partner Shield — a Mitsubishi Corporation's subsidiary — in 2005. After a triangular merger between Alberto Aspesi and Mitsubishi, Shield became "Aspesi Japan."

Concurrently, Fast Retailing has announced the merger of three subsidiary companies into one unit: low price apparel retailer g.u., shoe store One Zone, and women's retailer View Company. The new company will be established on September 1.

Keywords: Fast Retailing , Uniqlo
11 July 2008
Tokyo Girls Collection Announces Brand List
Mostly familiar faces with a few new additions read on >> Tokyo Girls Collection has announced the participating brands for its upcoming September 6 "eco themed" '08 A/W fashion show.

Brands include:
Aglaia (debut)
Another Edition
Capesmile (debut)

Free's Shop
Jamey (debut)
Jill by Jill Stuart (debut)
Lamiela (debut)
Laymee (debut)


Moroko Bap
Spiral Girl

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection , real clothes
11 July 2008
Renown to Sell Stake in French Connection Japan
75 million JPY loss from the sale to be posted as extraordinary loss read on >> Major apparel manufacturer Renown Inc. has announced the sale of its stake in French Connection Japan to its partner in the joint venture, UK clothing brand French Connection.

Renown will mark the near-¥75 million loss from the sale as an extraordinary loss. The struggling company is currently dropping underperforming assets in order to regain profitability with its core brands like Aquascutum.

Keywords: Renown
10 July 2008
New Steve Madden Store Opens in Harajuku
Number two store for Japan thanks to GRI Japan read on >> N.Y. shoe brand Steve Madden has opened its second Japanese store in the Tokyo fashion neighborhood of Harajuku. The store is located where Takeshita-doori ends on Meiji St.

Steve Madden's Japanese partner is GRI Japan — specializing in foreign shoe brands such as Nine West and Enzo Angiolini. GRI Japan opened the first Steve Madden store in Omotesando during March of this year.
09 July 2008
Bally to Reduce Prices by 20-25%
Price reduction to start in August with autumn/winter collection debut read on >> Bally Japan — the Japanese subsidiary of high-end shoes and bag brand Bally — will be reducing prices by 20-25% on certain items in the autumn/winter collection. The stated purpose of the price adjustment is to increase Bally's share of the market in Japan.

In the past, Bally Japan's prices had been intentionally set higher than those in the United States and Europe, and this reduction will re-adjust prices to better match the global standard.

Keywords: Bally
07 July 2008
Louis Vuitton to Collaborate with Comme des Garcons
Limited-edition shop to sell special double-brand bags read on >> Louis Vuitton will be collaborating with Comme des Garçons on a special set of six "party" bags. The collaborative products will be only sold at a limited-edition three-month store space on Kotto-doori in Aoyama, where CdG is currently operating the Tokyo branch of Dover Street Market. This is the latest in a long stream of recent Comme des Garçons collaborations, including double-named products with such companies as Speedo, H&M, and Fred Perry. Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons has also been extremely collaboration-heavy these days, with shirts and jackets based on Levi's, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste, and Saint James fabrics and designs.

For more information, please see the following links:

"Comme des Garcons partners with Louis Vuitton" - International Herald Tribune

"Comme des Vuitton" - T Magazine - New York Times Blog

Keywords: Aoyama , Louis Vuitton , Comme des Garçons
07 July 2008
Gregory Opens First Flagship Store
Opens on Cat Street between Shibuya and Harajuku read on >> Under its Japanese partner A&F Corporation, American backpack brand Gregory has opened its first Japanese flagship store on Cat Street — between the Harajuku and Shibuya neighborhoods.The "Gregory Tokyo Store" has 66 square meters of selling space. Besides selling a wide range of packs and "Yellow Label" ladies products, the store offers rentals on hiking equipment. A&F expects ¥100 million in revenues for the retail location within three years.

A&F has reported a 3% growth in sales for the year so far, with double-digit growth in the Z35 pack.

Keywords: Cat Street
07 July 2008
IM Planning Becomes Top Shareholder of United Arrows
Now holding 11.53% read on >> IM Planning — a company run by former ABC Mart Chairman Masahiro Miki — has acquired 4,866,600 shares of select shop United Arrows. At 11.53% of total shares, this makes IM Planning the top shareholder. IM Planning have stated that the acquisition is meant to be a pure investment into United Arrows
Keywords: select shops , United Arrows


Jul 23 2008
MEKAS Launch Party
A celebration at Le Baron de Paris Tokyo
Jul 23 2008
A new fashion attitude takes over Tokyo
Keywords: youth , yuru-nachu , Ladies
Jul 22 2008
Even those the magazines said no, the girls said yes
Keywords: leggings
Jul 14 2008
Luxury Slowdown
Between economic uncertainty and taste changes, Western luxury hits a rough spot amongst the Japanese middle class
Keywords: luxury , real clothes , Hermes , Chanel , Salvatore Ferragamo , Bally , fashion school students , Louis Vuitton


Jul 23 2008
Tokyo Street Photos for July
Yuru-nachu relaxed casual and leggings set the standard