News - Hot News / Current Events

30 January 2009
Uniqlo Looks to New York for Designers Invitation Project
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
28 January 2009
Zechia Breaks from Unit & Guest
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
Louis Vuitton to Open Two New Stores
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.
15 January 2009
Uniqlo to Open Men's-Only Shop in London's Selfridges
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.
08 December 2008
"Black Comme des Garçons" to Open on Kotto-doori
read on >> In the Kotto-doori space currently occupied by the Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons collaboration line store, Comme des Garçons (CdG) will soon open a new boutique called "Black Comme des Garçons." The shop will open sometime in January 2009 and only be open for two months. The products will all revolve around the theme of "black" — mostly culled from the current CdG lineup, with the inclusion of a few limited-edition goods.

Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons will close on December 14.
17 November 2008
MAX & Co. to Open Japan-targeted Website
read on >> Italian apparel brand MAX & Co. will unveil a new website in late February 2009 targeted towards Japanese women. This will be the company's first country-specific internet site. MAX & Co. is working with Hakuhodo Creative Vox on the site's production.

Model Kiki will act at the brand's spokeswoman, giving her a platform on the blog to introduce her favorite looks. 
14 November 2008
Tokyo Girls Collection to Go Back to Back with Shibuya Girls Collection
read on >> For its spring 2009 event, e-commerce company Branding's "real clothes" fashion and music show Tokyo Girls Collection (TGC) will hold a "Fashion Festa Deluxe" — combining TGC and sister event Shibuya Girls Collection (SGC) into a two-day festival. The events will take place at Yoyogi National Stadium over the weekend of March 7 and 8.

The spring event will be the eighth installment of TGC and third installment of SGC. Planners expect 40,000 attendees over the two days.

Judging by past events, TGC mostly attracts women in their 20s and 30s, while SGC is targeted to a slightly more select audience of older teenagers and women in their early 20s. The latest SGC will include a "O-nii-kei" men's fashion stage that is likely to attract young men as well.
05 November 2008
Select Shop Company Baycrews Starts Mobile E-commerce Site
read on >> Baycrews — the company behind popular select shops Édifice, Journal Standard, and deuxième classe —  has started a mobile phone-based e-commerce site called Style Cruise (http://style-cruise.jp). The site targets both men and women in their 20s and 30s.

The site opened on November 4 on NTT Docomo's i-mode network and will open on KDDI's EZweb on November 6 and Softbank's Yahoo Keitai on November 12. Shoppers can also order from the PC site.

Shipping for items is free.
20 October 2008
Renown to Sell Off Aquascutum
read on >> Number-three Japanese apparel company Renown Inc. has confirmed the sale of its long-time subsidiary — iconic British clothing brand Aquascutum. The buyer and timing have not been announced, although Women's Wear Daily has suggested a planned management buyout from Aquascutum CEO Kim Winser. Renown will most likely retain license rights for the brand in Japan.

Renown originally bought Aquascutum in 1990 for $120 million. But now in the midst of massive restructuring due to years of continuous underperformance, the apparel giant must take bold steps to regain profitability. In addition to the Aquascutum sale, Renown will unload a few of its key buildings in Tokyo and Osaka as well as lay off 400 employees (300 full-time, 100 contract workers). Sixteen of the lowest performing brands will be axed.

As recent as early 2008, Renown insisted that Aquascutum would be at center of the company's rebound, but analysts grew to see the British brand's sale as an inevitable step.

The sale of Aquascutum is projected to cause a ¥1.5 billion operating loss for the fiscal year ending in February 2009, although personnel costs will decrease by ¥2.7 billion.

Now hoping to get back into the black by 2010, Renown will focus resources on its best-selling D'Urban and other department store brands.
07 October 2008
Popular Indie Brand green to Cease Activity
read on >> Popular Japanese independent fashion brand green has announced a suspension of all business activity for next year. The Spring/Summer 'o9 collection will be the brand's last, and its main retail space in Ebisu will close in late June 2009.

Designer Yukiko Ode chose to cease brand operations to better dedicate herself to childrearing. Partner Hideaki Yoshihara has stated that he did not want to continue the brand alone.

Ode and Yoshihara — both born in 1969 — founded the brand in 1998 and had been active in Tokyo Collection since 2005. They announced the closing of men's line "green MAN" in May of this year.
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