By  on August 29, 2008

TOKYO — To look at it on paper, nothing about the young designers who participate in Japan Fashion Week adds up. They have little, if any, name recognition outside of their home country; their tiny businesses sell mostly within the domestic market, which has a sluggish economy many fear is heading into recession, and they produce their collections almost entirely in Japan using some of the world’s most expensive labor and fabrics.

To put it bluntly, it’s a wonder many of the labels showing at Japan Fashion Week, which kicks off Monday and runs through Sept. 5, stay in business. But the fact is, these companies are managing to survive, stitching their samples in some of the most cramped workspaces imaginable and snagging just enough retail accounts to carry on to the next season.

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