EAST TO WEST: Leaping to the U.S. from overseas can be tough for established foreign brands, but Growze has come to Los Angeles from Japan without any track record at all. Even the brand name, which is meant to convey the contemporary sportswear retailer is growing from zero, indicates its newness. Still, husband-and-wife team Yukiko and Masaki Kudo, who established Internet retailer Galstar out of Osaka three years ago, believe they have a formula that will win over American customers. As presented in Growze’s first store on Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles, which officially opened Tuesday at a party attended by Mischa Barton and Taylor Jacobson, the trendy clothes marry a tough girl aesthetic with feminine touches at prices that rival, if not best, H&M, Zara and Topshop. Tops run $45 to $90, denim and other bottoms $70 to $120, dresses $60 to $90 and jackets $90 to $140. Key pieces include a $150 faux leather jacket, $135 jeans accented with studs and chains, a $90 sleeveless chiffon shirt topped with a pearl-covered collar and an $85 layered chiffon skirt with an asymmetric hemline. In the fast-fashion manner, the Growze store will be infused with fresh merchandise every three weeks. Masaki Kudo said Growze’s next store will be in New York, and it is planning to add 10 stores a year in the U.S. to grow to 50 stores in about five years.
March 26, 2012