By  on August 24, 2007

TOKYO — The fifth Japan Fashion Week kicks off here Wednesday with 38 brands holding runway shows for their spring collections.

The shows will run through Sept. 5, and other events during this period will include the trade show Rooms, featuring European designers; the 2007 New Designer Fashion Grand Prix Final Selection, and special events for consumers. Tokyo Girls Collection, an emerging fashion event for young consumers that is expected to attract 24,000 visitors, will be held Sept. 2, although this is not an official event of JFW.

The main venue for JFW will be the new landmark building Tokyo Midtown in the Roppongi area, with other locations including Roppongi Academyhills and Harajuku Quest Hall.

Nobuyuki Ota, public relations director of JFW, said there will be a higher quality of design and more excitement at JFW than before. "Inquiries are not limited to the Asian countries, but also from Europe and the U.S.," said Ota. "People in the industries from overseas pay high attention to the collections."

The March shows drew 22,200 visitors, including 160 journalists from overseas countries such as the United States, South Korea, China, Taiwan, England, Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Russia, Australia, Argentina and Israel. Sixty buyers from the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, China, Russia and Italy also saw the collections. "Higher numbers are expected this time," said Ota.

The Japan External Trade Organization backs up the event by offering information to overseas visitors. "There are more inquiries from overseas than before. Buyers from high-end boutiques in the West Coast, for example," said Ota. "People are now talking about JFW."

The Japanese brand Somarta has gained buzz after attending Tokyo Fashion Week twice. "Thanks to the show at the venue which is free for the selected young designers, I was able to express my design world and expand my business, " said Tamae Hirokawa, designer of the brand. "For the collection this time, I have already received inquiries from overseas."

Japanese punk and Gothic charisma brand h.NAOTO will hold a fashion show on the official schedule. Tokyo's kawaii, or cute, brands such as mercibeaucoups, and Ne-net generally attract foreign buyers, while cool and energetic brands such as Dresscamp and Guts Dynamite Cabaret are expected to generate attention, according to observers.

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