Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Fukushima certainly hit the economy in northeast Japan, Kanto region, and other surrounding areas. Companies in other parts of Japan were badly hit because many production lines were based in northeast Japan and blackouts and power shortages created untold problems.
Of course during the devastating events of March 11 and the following days all emphasis was on the tragic death toll and trying to find people who were covered by the mass of debris.
The radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant also created panic and many foreign nationals, companies, embassies, and so forth; relocated or left temporarily because of the fear factor and mass uncertainty which was generated by the nuclear issue.
Several months later and the nuclear crisis is still ongoing in Fukushima but at a much lower level because of containment policies. Therefore, the fear factor in Tokyo appears to be over and embassies which were closed have re-opened and normality is returning to most sectors.
Obviously, the situation in northeast Japan remains problematic because while the economic recovery is starting to impact on areas hit the most it will still take a long time to readjust. Also, certain sectors, like the fisheries, remain to be hit hard and the nuclear issue in Fukushima will continue to hinder this sector and the same applies to areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
However, turning back to Tokyo then it is clear that this city is in full swing and the fashion sector is starting to pick up again.
In late 2010 the economy of Japan was starting to show signs of a recovery and this was maintained in the first few months of 2011. Therefore, strong sales in December, 2010, were announced at many luxury retailers throughout Tokyo and the fashion sector on a whole was optimistic about a positive 2011.
This was all cut short by the devastating events of March 11 but now optimism is returning to Tokyo and with the long hot summer on its way then a new vibrancy is also picking up.
Companies like 6%DOKIDOKI took their fashion designs to North America and acted with compassion and care and Sebastian Masuda was the brainchild behind the Mighty Harajuku Project. Therefore, 6%DOKIDOKI, and other fashion companies which supported the Mighty Harajuku Project; were raising funds for northeast Japan alongside helping local clients and showing an image of positivity despite the despair which was being felt at the time.
Today if you visit buzzing places in Tokyo like Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shinjuku, and other trendy areas, then it is clear that fashion companies are attracting shoppers.
In Lumine in Ikebukuro on the west side you have fantastic displays of elegant and exquisite fashion companies. Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) and many other fashion boutiques have an array of luxury products whereby you have high quality fabrics alongside fantastic color schemes and designs.
Department stores which have been in the doldrums for a long time apart from the odd period have also announced strong April sales compared to the slump in March following the events of the March 11 earthquake. Hankyu-Hanshin announced very positive sales and Daimaru-Matsuzakaya also stated that sales were up by just less than 3 per cent.
Mitsukoshi-Isetan also stated that sales were slightly up and given the events of March 11 then for Mitsukoshi-Isetan this was remarkable. After all, Mitsukoshi-Isetan is more focused on the Tokyo region than Hankyu-Hanshin which is Kansai based.
However, department stores are still down when compared with results from last year but it is hoped that the summer period will see an upturn and given the events of this year then the figures could have been a lot worse.
Therefore, with the long hot summer on its way the fashion sector in Tokyo may see a rebound of fresh optimism because the doom and gloom of March and early April seems a long time ago.
It is also hoped that tourists will start to flock to Tokyo and Japan once more because Tokyo is a Mecca for fashion and Osaka is also very vibrant.
The long hot summer is on its way and the feeling of hope and the freshness of new styles will hopefully lead to an upturn in sales.
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