TOKYO — In Japan, the Baby Boomers have given way to the Bargain Bunch.
Take Mayu Kawasaki, a 27-year-old retail manager from the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka, who is one careful shopper.
“For me, number one is quality and design,” Kawasaki said. “I always want to find something that can be worn or used long term. And second is price, because fashion changes all the time. So if I can get cheap stuff, I don’t feel it’s a waste to use it only for the season.”
Experts agree that Japan’s younger generation is less easily wooed by brand names and is more value-driven than its parents, who clamored for Louis Vuitton bags during the boom years of the Sixties through the Eighties. Instead, Japanese in their teens and 20s have spent all or much of their lives growing up in the post-bubble Nineties and 2000s, when the Japanese economy collapsed and subsequently stagnated.
In a report published by McKinsey & Co. in July, Brian Salsberg and Naomi Yamakawa noted that “almost 30 percent of shoppers under 30 named price as the most important factor they consider when shopping, compared to just 21 percent for those over age 50.”
Consumer spending, particularly on fashion goods, is in steep decline as Japan continues to battle tough economic times. Japan’s per-capita expenditure on clothing and footwear plummeted about 64 percent between 1995 and 2007, a trend that is expected to continue, according to Euromonitor International. The luxury goods market in particular has been hard hit, having shrunk 23 percent in real terms between 2006 and 2010 alone, forcing brands to scramble to replace what was once the world’s biggest country for such products. As of last year, the market was valued at an estimated 2.25 trillion yen, or $27.23 billion at current exchange. Yano Research Institute Ltd. noted the market is now less than half the size it was at its peak in 1996.
“I think my parents’ generation placed more importance on quality than we do, so they paid more for one thing,” said Naoko Ohyama, a 21-year-old artist in Kanagawa Prefecture, outside Tokyo, who does most of her shopping at used-clothing stores. “They shopped at department stores like Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi and Isetan, but for people my age, these are a little expensive. Now, most clothes and shoes are made in China, and Chinese products are cheaper than Japanese ones in general, so each item is less expensive. But I think there are more opportunities [for us] to buy clothes. There are more varieties and places.”
Layla Witmer, a 24-year-old store manager, said having an independent lifestyle prevents her from making large purchases.
“I love Miss Sixty, Armani Exchange and Theory, but I cannot shop at those locations without sales going on,” she said. “Usually, I will go to Mango, Zara, H&M and Abercrombie for casual shopping.”
Charles Spreckley, co-founder of Tokyo-based trend agency Five by Fifty, said, “Young people are still fashionable, they are just not as consumerist as they once were, and not as easily transfixed by brand names.”
Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods research at Euromonitor International, said, “The rise of individual style, which has resulted in the mixing of exclusive brands with high street brands, combined with the proliferation of choice…have all contributed to both the diminution and fragmentation of the ‘luxury wallet.’”
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye