HONG KONG — Sacai designer Chitose Abe has just branched out into the world of handbags, but her fans will have to wait a bit longer to see what else she has up her sleeve — make that a ruffled sleeve on a boxy pin-striped jacket to be exact.
“Sacai is an independent brand, so I don’t have goals like having to increase the sales by a certain percentage next year. Instead I focus on increasing the strength of the brand, which equals creating strong products. Those are the kinds of things I think about, not boring things like which category I should do after bags,” Abe said Wednesday during a trip to Hong Kong to promote the bags she designed with Katie Hillier. “I don’t think that’s the kind of thing we should be doing, because I think we should be following a more unique kind of existence.”
The Japanese designer could not be drawn on specifics but she said her privately held company is performing well — even if the growth rate has slowed recently. Abe has some projects in the pipeline for next year — again, she declined to say what exactly — but it’s probably safe to rule out e-commerce for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t want to do something just because everyone else is doing it at that time, and since I don’t think we’re ready [I think we should wait],” she said, adding that the brand is seeing strong sales on sites like Net-a-porter. “Many people might also wonder why I didn’t do shows for over ten years, but for me the timing was right.”
For now, Abe seems more concerned with off-line pursuits, like making keen observations on how the locals dress in different cities. In Hong Kong’s case, she detected a generational divide between it and her home base of Tokyo.
“In Japan it’s the young people who are into fashion, but here [in Hong Kong] even older people are interested in [fashion]. Adults here seem to really like fashion, but in Japan once people become adults they usually become more conservative.”