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30 January 2009
Uniqlo Looks to New York for Designers Invitation Project
Steven Alan, Shipley & Halmos, Opening Ceremony, and Gilded Age read on >> Japanese mass retailer Uniqlo has announced four new collaborators in its Designers Invitation Project: Steven Alan, Shipley & Halmos, Opening Ceremony, and Gilded Age. All four brands are based in New York.

Sales for the DIP collaboration goods will begin in March.

Preliminary photos of the project here: http://www.uniqlo.com/dip/jp
29 January 2009
Itochu to Import 313 and Arne & Carlos
Autumn 2009 debut for Italian and Norwegian brands read on >> Trading company Itochu Corporation has signed exclusive sales and import contracts with two European brands: Italian down jacket maker 313 and Norwegian knit brand Arne & Carlos.

Almond Eye will be the direct importer and distributor, selling to specialty stores across Japan from autumn 2009.

Itochu expects ¥1 billion in retail sales for each brand within three years.
29 January 2009
Fast Retailing Announces Take-over Bid for Link Theory Holdings
Equity method affiliate to become total subsidiary read on >> On January 28, Fast Retailing — parent company to mass retailer Uniqlo — announced a take-over bid to make equity method affiliate Link Theory Holdings into a wholly-owned subsidiary. Fast Retailing's board voted to actualize the plan through acquiring outstanding common stock, new share subscription rights, and warrant bonds. Link Theory Holding's board has agreed to the buyout.

The move comes in light of Link Theory Holdings' worsening financial situation. The company projects losses of ¥4.3 billion for the February 2009 midterm balance sheet. Fast Retailing hopes to use the buyout as a way to deepen its commitment to Link Theory's business, ultimately restoring growth potential and profitability.

Fast Retailing first invested into Link Theory in 2004 and currently owns 32.32% of its common stock.

Link Theory Holdings operates global brands Theory and Helmut Lang.

28 January 2009
Zechia Breaks from Unit & Guest
Designers return their avant-garde ladies brand to own company read on >> Japanese avant-garde ladies brand Zechia has decided to go independent, leaving the auspicies of previous owner — fashion importer Unit & Guest. The designers cited "a divergence in opinions on direction" as the reason for the move. Designer LICA wants to expand the brand's activities beyond fashion, into the realms of environmental protection and art.

Zechia's designers LICA and NAKA originally hail from the Harajuku-based brand 20471120. They will now operate Zechia within their own company Tra I Venti, formed in 1994.

Zechia will not participate in the upcoming AW '09-'10 Japan Fashion Week.

Unit & Guest is the Japanese importer and agent for foreign brands such as Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg, and Madison Marcus. The company is a subsidiary of Sanei International.

Images from Zechia's SS '09 Japan Fashion Week show available here.
22 January 2009
IPGI to Open Galliano Flagship in Omotesando Hills
March 6 opening on the first floor read on >> IPGI Inc. — International Property Global Investments — has announced a March 6 opening for the new Galliano flagship store in shopping building Omotesando Hills. The store will open on the first floor of the complex, at a total 86 square-meters.

The company also plans to set up a corner for the brand in department store Isetan's Shinjuku location, on the fourth floor.

IPGI signed an exclusive sales and import contract with Galliano last year. The company plans 6 to 7 retail locations for Galliano within three years.

Keywords: John Galliano , IPGI
22 January 2009
Louis Vuitton to Open Two New Stores
One in Iyotetsu Takashimaya, one in Kashiwa, Chiba read on >> Louis Vuitton Japan has announced the opening of two new locations.

On February 28, the two-story Louis Vuitton Iyotetsu Takashimaya will open in the Iyotetsu branch of Takashimaya department store, located in Matsuyama, Shikoku. On March 14, a Louis Vuitton will open in Kashiwa, Chiba.

Keywords: Louis Vuitton
20 January 2009
National Department Store Sales Down for Twelfth Straight Year
-4.3% decline, with apparel at -6.2% read on >> On January 19, the Japan Department Store Association (JDSA) released the national department store sales figures for 2008, and they were not pretty. Net sales for the 91 companies and 280 stores in the association was ¥7,813 billion — a -4.3% decrease from the previous year. This was the twelfth consecutive year of sales decline.

Tokyo and Osaka area department stores saw nearly identical drops in revenue at -4.2% and -4.1%, respectively. Nagoya meanwhile,experienced a -7.8% decline for the year.

In terms of individual months, only February brought an increase on the previous year, at the meager 0.9%. All other months had fewer sales than 2007.

Apparel in particular was down -6.2% nationwide, -6.4% in Tokyo. Womenswear declined -6.7% nationwide and -7.0% in Tokyo.

The JDSA placed most of the blame on the worsening economy and weakened consumer expenditure.

Keywords: department stores
19 January 2009
Itochu to Invest in Chinese Fashion Conglomerate Shan Shan
The Japanese trading company will own 28%, making Shan Shan an equity-method affiliate read on >> Japanese trading company Itochu Corportation has announced a large-scale investment into Chinese fashion conglomerate Shan Shan. After acquiring 28% of Shan Shan's shares — an investment estimated at ¥10 billion — Itochu will make the company an equity-method affiliate.

Itochu hopes to use the partnership with Shan Shan to better expand its brand business into China. Shan Shan will gain from Itochu's global network and know-how.

3% of the 28% will be held by Itochu's Chinese subsidiary Itochu (China) Holding Co., Ltd.

The contracts for the deal will be formally signed in mid-January.

Keywords: China , Itochu
16 January 2009
First Kitson Store for Japan to Go in Shinjuku Lumine 2
Opening on March 8 read on >> The first Japanese retail location for Kitson — the trendy Los Angeles boutique — will open within shopping building Shinjuku Lumine 2 on March 8.

The in-shop space will be a total 165 square-meters, dedicated mostly to accessories from over 90 different brands.

Kitson Japan plans to open a standalone roadside store by summer, with three-to-five more locations scheduled for the year.

Keywords: Shinjuku , Lumine
16 January 2009
Tomorrowland to Open Dries Van Noten Flagship in Aoyama
March 20 launch date read on >> Select shop Tomorrowland has partnered with Belgian designer Dries Van Noten to open a Tokyo flagship for his eponymous brand in Aoyama. The store is scheduled to open on March 20.

The store will be 280 square meters over two floors, with womenswear on the ground floor and menswear upstairs.

Tomorrowland is projecting ¥300 million in sales for the first two collection seasons.

Keywords: Tomorrowland , Aoyama
15 January 2009
TWENTY8TWELVE by s. miller to Open in Isetan
Second location in Hankyu Umeda and select shop distribution to follow read on >> The first Japanese retail location for brand TWENTY8TWELVE by s. miller will open in Isetan's Shinjuku flagship on January 16.

TWENTY8TWELVE is produced by actress Sienna Miller and her older sister Savannah Miller, who has worked with Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson as a designer.

The brand is represented in Japan by bluebell Japan, who currently control its exclusive import and sales rights.

A second TWENTY8TWELVE location will open in Hankyu's Umeda branch (Osaka) on February 11, followed by broader distribution to 30 select shops nationwide.

Keywords: Bluebell Japan , Hankyu , Isetan
15 January 2009
Sanei International Revises Projections Downwards
Company now expects ¥800 million net loss read on >> Apparel giant Sanei International has revised its year-end consolidated earning projections downwards for the fiscal year ending in August 2009. The company now expects a ¥800 million net loss for the full term.

The revised projection for net sales is ¥115 billion — a ¥10 billion decrease from initial projections. The company also expects a ¥991 million appraisal loss on securities investments.

Keywords: Sanei International
15 January 2009
Uniqlo to Open Men's-Only Shop in London's Selfridges
Goods selected on the theme of "Contemporary Cool Japan" read on >> Japanese mass retailer Uniqlo has announced plans to open an in-store shop within London high-end department store Selfridges & Co. on February 23. The 99 square-meter space will only offer men's clothing — the first time Uniqlo has opened a men's-only store anywhere in the world.

The concept of the shop will be "Contemporary Cool Japan," highlighting Japanese-made denim, linen cotton jackets, and cotton cashmere sweaters.

Keywords: Uniqlo
13 January 2009
Link Theory Holdings Revises Projections Downwards
Net losses now expected for the full term read on >> Link Theory Holdings — parent company to brands Theory and Helmut Lang — has revised its initial earning projections downwards for the fiscal year ending in August 2009. The company originally expected a net profit of ¥250 million, but now projects net losses of an unspecified degree.

The company reported relatively strong sales in Japan, but Japan only makes up around one-third of the company's total consolidated revenue. The European and American markets, on the other hand, have seen massive drops in sales due to the recessionary environment. Link Theory believes these conditions will continue throughout the year.

The first quarter earnings were as follows:
 • Net sales: ¥16 billion (a 11.7% decline from the previous fiscal year)
 • Operating profits: ¥1.166 billion (a 38.1% decline from the previous fiscal year)
 • Normal profits: ¥400 million (a 61.1% decline from the previous fiscal year)
 • Net profits: ¥230 million (a 98.2% decline from the previous fiscal year)

Keywords: Link Theory
13 January 2009
Onward Holdings Revises Year-End Projections Downwards
Net losses for the full term now projected to hit 16.9 billion yen read on >> Onward Holdings has revised its full term earning projections downwards for the fiscal year ending in February 2009 — the third time since the intial projections last year. Most dramatically, the initial projection for a ¥12.4 billion net profit has now been revised to a ¥16.9 billion net loss.

Onward blames the underperformance on the sluggish consumer market, a ¥3.259 billion currency exchange loss in the third quarter, and a ¥17.882 billion appreciation loss on investment securities.

The latest projections are as follows:
 • Net sales: ¥263 billion (a 8.4% decline from the previous fiscal year)
 • Operating profits: ¥10.8 billion (a 42% decline from the previous fiscal year)
 • Normal profits: ¥6.9 billion (a 71.4% decline from the previous fiscal year)

Keywords: Onward Kashiyama
07 January 2009
Mango to Open Ten Stores in Three Years
First of the lot in Shin Misato Lala City read on >> MNG Japan — the Japanese subsidiary of Spanish fashion chain Mango — has announced plans to open ten stores in Japan within the next three years. The first store will open within the Shin Misato Lala City shopping complex in Saitama during its September 2009 grand opening.

One of the stores is planned to be a standalone flagship in Tokyo, but most will go into shopping centers.

Interviews

Jan 29 2009
Yasumasa Yonehara
An interview with Japanese editor and photographer Yasumasa Yonehara
Keywords: yuru-nachu , office ladies , ViVi , O-nii-kei , youth , Uniqlo , gyaru , Tokyo , street , Shibuya 109 , luxury , Shibuya , Louis Vuitton , CanCam , magazines

Trends

Jan 26 2009
Uniqlo Reigns Supreme
Uniqlo did not just survive a hostile 2008, but became its master
Keywords: Uniqlo
Jan 18 2009
Complete Guide to Japanese Street Snap Websites
A comprehensive breakdown of all the internet's Japanese street photography sites

Street-photos

Jan 26 2009
Tokyo Street Photos for January
Relatively cold: everyone in black tights!