Premium denim leader Seven For All Mankind is setting its sights on Japan.
The label, owned by apparel giant VF Corp., has reached an agreement with Global Retail Inc. to build the brand in Japan through wholesale expansion and the opening of freestanding stores. According to VF, Seven has been active in the Japanese market for five years, selling at multibrand specialty stores and department stores.
Giuliano Sartori, vice president and general manager of Seven’s Asia-Pacific division, said the agreement with GRI will elevate the brand’s visibility with new shop-in-shops at key specialty and department stores. In addition, targets have been set to open a network of branded stores over the next three years.
“We’re looking at six freestanding stores and over 30 shop-in-shops in Japan,” said Sartori. “We feel it’s a reasonable target for the size of the market and the strength of our brand.”
The announcement comes as Seven prepares to open a Tokyo showroom in January. The brand’s first Japanese flagship is slated to open in March in Tokyo’s trendy Daikanyama, Shibuya-ku. Sartori said the Tokyo shop will be one of the largest and serve as a launchpad for the brand. The 4,500-square-foot space will include retail space and offices. Future stores will likely be in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.
Sartori acknowledged the difficulties facing the Japanese economy and, in particular, the sluggish retail environment. Luxury goods makers and retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo have been forced to cut prices in a bid to lure customers, and on Tuesday, Vuitton abandoned plans to open a 10-story Ginza flagship. However, Sartori noted that Japan remains a leading Asian market with a “highly sophisticated consumer.”
GRI, a privately held international brand management and retail-distribution group, operates 100 stores throughout Europe and some 500 points of sale in 12 Asian countries, including China, South Korea, Japan, Macau, Singapore and Vietnam. The company was founded in 1997, and in 2006 received an investment from Goldman Sachs and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. In June, Jones Apparel Group acquired a minority interest in GRI Group Ltd., the exclusive licensee of several of Jones’ brands in Asia, including Nine West, Anne Klein New York, AK Anne Klein and Easy Spirit.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
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Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast