Tokyo Girls Collection to Live-Stream Via YouTube

Japan's Vogue Girl will stage a show incorporating luxury labels like YSL and Fendi.

A mock-up of the Tokyo Girls Collection YouTube channel

TOKYO — Tokyo Girls Collection, a massive event epitomizing the fun and flirty world of Japanese fashion, is about to get an even larger audience.

This story first appeared in the March 4, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

TGC’s organizers have partnered with Google to create a custom YouTube platform to live-stream the event for the first time. People around the world will be able to view in the proceedings, which take place Saturday at a former Olympic stadium here.

“I think there are still many girls who want to come but can’t,” TGC’s chief producer Ayako Nagaya said Thursday. “We’ve been doing this event for six years and our mission has always been to bring Japanese ‘real clothes’ to the entire world.…But now by working with Google we will be able to reach new platforms, such as smartphones and Android.”

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend this edition of the biannual TGC. It’s a lavishly produced affair in which Japanese models stroll down the runway waving and blowing kisses to their fans and showing off hyper-girly looks from local brands like Cecil McBee, Ravijour and Chesty.

Attendees pay an entrance fee of as much as 7,500 yen, or $91.59, and they can buy the fashions via cell phone as they come down the runway. J-pop performances punctuate the daylong festivities. All of the presale tickets for Saturday’s edition have been sold.

The YouTube deal isn’t the only new element of TGC this season. Luxury brands are tapping into the event as part of a special runway show from Vogue Girl, which will be launched as a stand-alone publication in Japan on March 12.

Vogue Girl will send out its own stylized looks combining clothing from fast-fashion chains and Japanese labels with accessories from luxury brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Fendi and Marc Jacobs. “Until now we’ve never been able to do a show that featured mixed looks made up of items from high-end brands as well as [everyday clothes] from fast-fashion or 109 brands,” Nagaya said, referencing Tokyo’s popular fashion mall Shibuya 109, which attracts young women in their teens and 20s. “We haven’t been able to get approval from the high-end brands, but since we’re working with Vogue, we were able to do it this time.”

Luxury brands have been suffering considerably in Japan as the economy stagnates and consumers curtail their discretionary spending, so it’s only logical that labels are finding new ways to drum up business and win over consumers. Nagaya said it makes sense for these brands to target TGC.

“That’s [how people dress everyday in Japan]. People don’t dress all in the same brand, but they might have just a bag, shoes, accessory or jacket from a high-end brand, and then mix that with fast fashion,” she said.

Google has set up three TGC YouTube channels, which will show live-streamed videos of not only the event’s fashion shows, but also interviews with models and backstage footage. There will also be an interactive element that will allow users to submit questions to models and stylists, which have a chance of being answered during Q&A sessions throughout the seven-hour event.

The fashion show videos will be annotated with links that take users directly to an e-commerce site, where they will be able to purchase the clothes as they see them coming down the runway. But the site is in Japanese and deliveries are limited to Japan.

In addition to the collaboration with Google and YouTube, TGC will be adding a 3-D element to its spring show. The runway shows will be accompanied by 3-D-friendly additions such as lasers, and a 3-D film of the event will be shown at cinemas across Japan on March 26 and 27.