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Tokyo and Osaka fashion: H&M to introduce Monki and Weekday to Japan in the future

Tokyo and Osaka fashion: H&M to introduce Monki and Weekday to Japan in the future

Kanako Itamae and Michel Lebon

Modern Tokyo Times

The fashion company Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is going from strength to strength in Japan. This reality means that H&M will introduce two of their brands to Japan within the near future. Currently, it is perceived that the brands Monki and Weekday will be introduced to Japan in early 2014 but this date could feasibly be moved forward.

H&M in 2012 decided on opening up new stores in Japan and this most notably applies to Nagoya. After all, in Tokyo and other parts of Kanto the brand H&M is part of the fashion landscape for many fashion lovers. The other major city which was targeted by H&M was Osaka. However, it is hoped that in the future that this company will further consolidate in other parts of Kansai because of the vibrancy of the entire region.

The vibrancy of fashion in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka is simply amazing. This applies to the intriguing variations of fashion within Tokyo and Osaka respectively. It is more than likely that Monki and Weekday will follow the Tokyo and Osaka route.

Fashion in Japan is an extremely vibrant sector and clearly H&M is raking in the rewards. Sales throughout the first nine months of 2012 in Japan remain vibrant, despite the negative global economy. This reality means that H&M is extremely positive about the future of this company in Japan. Therefore, it is believed that not only will Monki and Weekday enhance the reputation of H&M in Japan; but equally important, this new initiative will preserve the reputation of H&M because both brands will bring a new freshness.

On the following link ( many fine attributes are stated about H&M. The above highlighted website comments that H&M is one of Europe’s two leading clothing brands, seemingly immune from the woes than have plagued many other retailers, not least US rival Gap. One key selling point has been an annual collaboration with different star designers.”

In many fashion surveys in Tokyo the name H&M featured highly with regards to ladies who adore the richness of amazing boutiques. Therefore, if the past is to be relied on, it would appear that Monki and Weekday will further enhance H&M in Japan.

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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in EUROPE, Japan


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Tokyo and Osaka fashion: Versace intent on expanding after clean slate

Tokyo and Osaka fashion: Versace intent on expanding after clean slate

Michel Lebon, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Versace re-entered the Japanese market in 2011 after pulling out in 2009 and now this internationally famous company is focused on expansion after positive sales. It remains to be seen if the current situation for Versace is “a true renaissance” in Japan because clearly this company had a difficult time in the years prior to pulling out. However, given the power of this famous brand and with new mechanisms being set up, then clearly the possibility of “a new renaissance” in Tokyo, Osaka, and in other parts of Japan, is feasible given the exquisite nature of this fashion company.

In fairness to Versace, when they closed their stores in Tokyo, Osaka, and Chiba in 2009.  They did make it clear that a return was possible in the near future. This applies to the company statement which stated that it was time to “close them and start with a clean slate.”

Therefore, rather than struggling on and trying to make things work, Versace was focused on “a clean slate.”Given this, it is evident that Versace wanted to refresh their thinking and concepts in order to meet the rigors of the Japanese market. This approach is very intriguing because often companies take negativity by either fluttering away many years or they finally decide to leave a powerful market from weakness. Yet it was clear by the statement in 2009 that Versace left from strength despite the adversity of the time.

In 2011 Versace was true to their word because they did start with “a clean slate” and re-entered the Japanese market. Once more Tokyo and Osaka were the linchpins because both cities are huge and their financial base is enormous. The same applies to both cities having an abundance of fashion districts. Also, the demand for quality brands is more than obvious in both Tokyo and Osaka – and the same applies to other powerful cities, for example Kobe, Nagoya, Sendai, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and other major cities throughout Japan.

However, the Japanese market is extremely competitive and certain unique cultural factors related to business and other areas, means that Versace follows a long list of international companies which found “difficult times” in Japan. Each company will have different reasons behind this and while some have pulled out indefinitely, others have returned once different methodologies have been implemented which suit the host market. Also, some companies that have returned have done so by numbing down their past ambitions but it appears that Versace is intent on expanding after consolidating itself rather quickly.

It is reported that Versace plans to open another three to four stores in Japan before the end of 2012. This is based on positive international sales throughout the world despite the negative global economy. If everything goes according to plan then it will certainly be a “new renaissance” for Versace in Japan and given the innovation of this exquisite company then hopes remain high.

Once Hiroshi Saito was announced to be the Chief Executive Officer of Versace Japan, then the re-entering of Versace into the Japanese market certainly appeared to be the “clean slate” like promised. The Chief Executive Officer of Versace SpA, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, commented in 2011 that “I am very excited to announce that Mr. Saito, whom I worked with very well in the past, is joining our team. He is one of the best managers in the Japanese luxury business and he understands Italian fashion brands better than anyone else.”

“I am confident that, with the arrival of Mr. Saito, our re-entry into the Japanese market will proceed fast and in the correct way. At the Group level, we continue to work with focus and enthusiasm towards our goals which, for 2011, foresee a significant growth in retail and wholesale sales, as well as a return to profitability.”

It would appear that the confidence espoused in the above comments by Gian Giacomo Ferraris is bearing fruit. This can be seen by the expansion plans of Versace after positive sales since re-entering the Japanese market.

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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in EUROPE, Japan


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Austria Gracey: Tokyo Style Fashion with an American Touch

Austria Gracey: Tokyo Style Fashion with an American Touch

Horace C. White and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Austria Gracey has always been inspired by fashion and beauty. This elegant lady began her involvement in the fashion industry as a fashion model. Her modeling career started in 1994 in Tokyo, Japan, and her unique looks and professionalism helped her to develop into new exciting fields. Austria is currently signed with the designer brand, NEODANDI (, which is known for creativity.

In the past Austria worked for and was mentored by BGN PARIS ( under Susan Vesser from 2003 to 2006. This gave her a fascinating start in the fashion industry and highlights the internationalism of this exquisite fashion designer. After leaving this company she then moved to NORDSTROM from 2007 to 2009. Throughout her intriguing fashion journey, Austria found the courage to start her own brand of clothing and accessories for women and men, with its official inception in August of 2011.

Her main concept when she started Austria Gracey, The Brand – The Label, was to design and manufacture her clothing in the U.S.A. and this specifically applies to Seattle, WA. Distribution and growth was aimed at important markets throughout Asia and clearly with links in America and Europe then future possibilities are endless. After all, with such background experience at NEODANDI, BGN PARIS, and NORDSTORM, and with starting her modeling career in Tokyo, it is obvious that not only is Austria experienced within the fashion industry, but equally important is that she is truly multi-national and extremely creative.

The global economy is down worldwide but for many fashion companies they are still experiencing positive growth in major cities like Tokyo. This notably applies to top notch boutiques and given the exquisite nature of Austria’s fashion designs then this is extremely positive.

Austria is hoping to reinvigorate the fashion scene in Seattle and elsewhere in the U.S.A. and to show the world the inner-creativity of this dynamic fashion designer from America. Also, distributing her goods around Asia is near and dear to her heart because of her multi-ethnic background. Her mother is mixed Asian and her father is Irish-European.

The Tokyo and Japan angle is very fascinating because the majority of her childhood was spent in Japan and her modeling career began in Tokyo. Therefore, given the exquisite nature of her designs then clearly they would fit in well throughout high octane fashion districts in Tokyo and all major cities in Japan. In Tokyo the extravagant nature of fashion in Aoyama, Ebisu, Jiyugaoka, Ginza, Omotesando, Yurakucho, and other adorable areas, would certainly be enriched by the creativity and elegance of her designs.

Also, the beauty of Austria and her exquisite designs is that this lady is not only a fresh thinker and always looking at new angles, but her designs are also extremely versatile.  Therefore, they appeal to many different fashion trends. This means that her designs would be equally welcome in daring parts of Tokyo like Harajuku and Shibuya, and this is the beauty of this unique fashion designer.

The international nature of fashion in Japan whereby the crème de la crème of European, North American, and Japanese boutiques can be found, suits her background completely. Japan has always especially loved the American lifestyle and trends, with everything basically being on a larger scale and on a different level. This, along with the European angle, means that Austria is one step ahead because her fashion background and living in various international cities, means that her “mindset” suits all major cities internationally, irrespective of the continent.

Austria designs with fervid inspiration and extreme passion. She personally loves to test out her own designs, to wear what she created and see the emotional reaction of others. When she was ready to unveil her first dress that she sold, the Jeffrey Dress, in November 2011, she wore it to the Asian Hall of Fame Event and the Diamond Ball at Tracy Castle. After receiving many compliments, and through casual networking, she was able to make her first sale.

Whenever she wears her ensembles, there is a feel good factor and memories are created because of the stunning nature of her fashion designs. Austria also adores her favorite clothes and each special garment of hers is cherished because of the memories attached. Therefore, she understands the importance of fashion and the special feel it creates to the respective individual and this connection and passion can be felt in all her exquisite designs.

This means that Austria wants people to experience the same passion when they buy her lovely fashion designs. She wants her garments to inspire you to confidently feel and look your ultimate best. Likewise, live, laugh, and love passionately comes to mind when you think about her exquisite designs. This fascinating approach means that Austria always gives everything when creating a new design and immediately you can see and feel her passion.

She is NOT a one-note fashion designer. Austria envisions different looks, which are inspired by her mood and the way she would want to dress. Whether ruggedly casual, heroically athletic, rocker with a hint of S&M, bohemian-ethnic, ethereally cute, stealthily sophisticated, or glam goddess – all of these looks, designed and styled together, are always sexy and chic through her interpretation.

Without a shadow of a doubt this talented and creative fashion designer brings fresh sparkle and creativity. Therefore, the fashion brand Austria Gracey should continue to flourish and expand.!/AustriaGracey  – twitter account of Austria Gracey

Austria Gracey was the stunning model in photo one and photo three – this highlights the many dimensions of this multi-talented lady.

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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Japan, NORTH AMERICA


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