Bao Bao Issey Miyake is among the many innovative brands to come out of one of Japan’s most well-known fashion houses, and more than a decade after its initial inception, it is still going strong. The eye-catching bags, which are distinguishable by the trademark triangular plastic tiles that cover them, are often seen on the arms of fashion-forward women (and, more recently, men) in Japan and around the world.
Bao Bao’s presence internationally may still be relatively limited, but the brand is increasing its sales points outside of Japan at a rapid pace. Also, the bags have become a hot item for tourists visiting Japan — especially those from elsewhere in Asia — to take back to their home countries. A spokeswoman for Issey Miyake said Bao Bao’s sales in Japan have doubled over the past year.
Recent key items have included the Distortion pouch, which starts as a flat piece of material and is “built” by the customer into an asymmetric shape; the “Shogun” series of bags decorated with boltlike studs on multicolored triangular tiles, and a new series of unisex rucksacks, messenger bags and totes in allover matte or shiny black.
In addition to a handful of freestanding stores across Japan, Bao Bao Issey Miyake is stocked by Japanese department stores such as Isetan, Takashimaya, Parco and Matsuya. Prices average 35,000 yen (about $344) and range from 4,500 yen ($44) for a hair elastic to 130,000 yen ($1,278) for a large embellished tote.