“Judging from the States you always think Japanese people are going to be ultraconservative, but I was able to actually go around the area and I could see that people were totally willing to take chances with their fashion, like wearing loud-color pants,” jewelry designer Jason Arasheben said of his first impressions of Tokyo. “And I noticed how fashion-forward they were and I said, ‘You know what, this would be a kind of culture that would really embrace something different because they are willing to take chances.'”
Arasheben hopes taking this risk will extend not just to clothes, but to jewelry as well, as he opens the first international store for his brand Jason of Beverly Hills on Saturday in Tokyo’s luxury shopping district of Ginza. In addition to glass display cases and the trademark red carpet, the 1,000-square-foot store houses a VIP room and bar area, where customers can feel like they’re being treated like some of Arasheben’s more famous clients, who include Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Jessica Alba and Katy Perry.
“Being that the DNA of the brand is kind of catering to celebs and that’s how this brand was built, I open each and every store so that the clients themselves feel like they get the same experience that a celebrity would, which is the reason why every one of my stores has a red carpet going down the center,” Arasheben said. “You can go to a tailor and get a bespoke suit, but how many jewelers can you go to and get custom pieces? At least not in the traditional jewelry houses like Cartier, Chopard. Unless you’re spending, like, a million dollars, they don’t even want to touch it. Whereas you can come here and spend $5,000 and you can get something custom and you can be part of the creative process. There’s very few things in the luxury sector where you’re able to do that, and this is one of them.”
The Tokyo store, Jason of Beverly Hills’ fifth in just five years, will also be selling a few custom pieces that aren’t available elsewhere. One is a yellow gold and diamond pendant in the shape of a key, with Tokyo’s skyline making up the jagged edge. It is priced at 1 million yen, or $8,770, for a small size and 1.2 million yen, or $10,252, for a larger version.
Other international brands with flagship stores in Ginza include Hermès, Giorgio Armani, Tiffany, Christian Dior, Chanel and Bulgari. Arasheben sees a gap in the market for a jewelry brand that is pushing the boundaries, and he hopes wealthy shoppers will respond favorably to his angel wing, skull, and grenade pendants and octopus and claw rings.
“If you actually look at Ginza, there’s nothing but traditional jewelry houses. There’s nothing that’s really edgy,” he said. “And they have a lot of really edgy clothes over here and they have a lot of boutiques that sell edgy clothes, but nothing in the fine jewelry realm. So I felt like this would be the perfect first international location.”