TOKYO — Japan may be inching its way out of a recession but specialty retailers and fashion brands are still forging ahead with their retail expansion.
Over a two-week period, a flurry of new stores are opening here including Opening Ceremony, Ron Herman, Tom Ford, Rick Owens, Tila March, Brooks Brothers Black Fleece, Kitson and a new retail concept from Issey Miyake.
A large retail and entertainment complex called Marunouchi Brick Square also will open in the city center to house tenants like Land of Tomorrow, Cath Kidson and Brooks Brothers.
Although most observers agree Japan’s future growth prospects are limited as its aging population shrinks and it emerges from a long period of macroeconomic stagnation, it’s clear the country remains a critical market for luxury goods, worth something close to $20 billion. Plus this is an advantageous time to expand here as real estate prices and rental rates linger in the doldrums.
“In some of the cases I suspect there is enough ‘risk-sharing’ with local partners,” said Brian Salsberg, the head of McKinsey Japan’s consumer and retail team.
That said, it remains to be seen just how many of the new stores will outlive their initial burst of novelty and be successful in the longer run, as Takahiro Yamamura, a business professor at Bunka Fashion Graduate University, questions.
“Japanese consumers love new products, new things, anything new. That makes these types of specialty stores very popular at the beginning but nobody knows if it will last,” Yamamura said. “Japanese consumers are also quite fickle.”
All of these brands are entering an increasingly cutthroat atmosphere in what was already one of the most competitive retail landscapes in the world. This most recent burst of activity coincides with the boom of fast fashion here. Brands like Uniqlo, Hennes & Mauritz, Forever 21 and Zara have convinced Japanese shoppers they no longer have to shell out luxury-level prices to look fashionable.
Here, a look at some of the latest additions to Tokyo’s retail scene:
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“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