By  on November 23, 2005

Japanese trade shows focus their efforts on young and lesser-known designers.

TOKYO — Though the effects of the Japanese recession have somewhat abated, the nation's fashion industry is looking for different ideas and new producers to help Japanese fashion regain its footing and wage an effective fight against competition from trade shows in other Asian nations, China in particular.

Japan's four big fashion exhibitions — International Fashion Fair, Japan Creation, Frontier and Rooms — are at the vanguard of this change, and are looking for ways to stand out from the pack and attract creative young designers.

Last year, IFF instituted The Creators Village, a venue for independent and less well-known retailers to show their products, and more than 150 exhibitors took advantage of the new opportunity and participated at the last show.

"We are ready to offer more effort for new creators," said Naohiko Kato, general executive director of Japan Fashion Association, which organizes IFF. The goal of the show, which generally attracts about 30,000 visitors, is to create more business opportunities for everyone there, he said.

Masafumi Ogada, a designer with MCW who has attended IFF several times in the past and showed last year in The Creators Village, said that the show is meeting this goal. Though orders aren't typically written up on-site at IFF, "every year I receive many inquiries, and some of them become big business opportunities," he said.

The next edition of IFF is scheduled for Jan. 18-20 at Tokyo Big Sight.Japan Creation, held Dec. 7-9, is widely recognized as Asia's most comprehensive trade fair for fabrics and textiles, and there are a number of smaller JC shows that provide visitors with ample opportunity to find quality textiles at all points on the supply chain, according to Mutsuko Tatsukami, a JC producer. Among these shows are the Japan Quality Creators Zone, a venue for textile manufacturers known for their intricate and detailed work, and the Promotions Corners, five spots around JC where exhibitors can showcase their merchandise with help from the organizer.

"More than ever we are highlighting [our] exhibitors' innovation and product array," said Tatsukami.

More than 193 domestic brands and 68 international brands showed at the September edition of Rooms, a new designer showcase held at Tokyo's National Yoyogi Gymnasium. About 7,400 visitors attended the event, known for incorporating gimmicks into the show's format as a way of standing out. Rooms will convene again Feb. 13-15, at the same venue, with a carnival theme. Though plans for the theme have not yet been finalized, one idea being discussed entails a parade of Japanese models in kimonos.

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