By Akira Miura / Special to The Japan NewsFashion weeks were held in February and March in New York, London, Milan, Paris and Tokyo, with fashion brands conducting runway shows and exhibitions to introduce their collections for this autumn through winter 2019.
Even more important than the production of these events is their indication of what fashion trends are coming next and what kinds of products are likely to be big sellers.
This time around, it was down jackets and winter coats that caught the eye. Until several years ago, you’ll remember, it was said that we in Japan would soon need no overcoats, let alone down coats, because the country would be subtropical and we’d regularly have warm winters due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases caused by the destruction of the ozone layer.
Things are completely different now, and many scientists are saying solar activity is decreasing and a mini ice age may have started. Why was it that a former vice president of the United States won the Nobel Peace Prize for authoring “An Inconvenient Truth?”
The sluggish fashion industry in Japan was hoping badly for a cold winter, so obviously it breathed a sigh of relief this winter. It was so cold that down coats sold very well.
I wrote in this column in February that the dominance of Moncler in Japan regarding down jackets and coats was being challenged by Canada Goose. I think those two brands are very popular here because of their high spec fit for professional use, and their brand logos.
Both brands are easy to find on the street because of their iconic logos on the sleeves. The Moncler logo is a combination of the initial “M” and a rooster, the national bird of France. The brand was born in Grenoble, France, initially for professional alpinists. The company is now based on Milan, and its clothes are popular with relatively well-to-do female office workers here.
In the Canada Goose logo, the white, Australia-like shape is seen on the Arctic disc surrounded by red maple leaves, a famous symbol of Canada.
Both logos remind us of their countries of origin, which underlines that national pride is at the foundation of luxury brands.
It’s not only for down coats that logos play an important role. Industry people agree that the top-selling luxury brand in Japan right now is Balenciaga. They say its three-fold wallets at over ¥40,000 are flying off the shelves, and its sandals and sneakers priced in the ¥30,000 to ¥80,000 price range are also selling like crazy.
It’s young Japanese people who are buying them, and the deciding factor for them is apparently the Balenciaga logo.
Fashion journalists and industry people were surprised at the bold transformation of Balenciaga after the appointment of Demna Gvasalia, who hails from Georgia, as the brand’s artistic director. What’s even more amazing is that young people began buying Balenciaga products with its logo after the brand underwent the transformation.
Collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme became a big talking point last year. Logos are a decisive factor for customers of both brands. Gucci is gaining steam in Japan, as if its slump in the recent past had never happened. Its products with the GG mark are very popular, especially among young people. I also hear agnes b. T-shirts with its logo are selling at twice the pace of last year.
It’s not certain whether this logo craze, which is taking place in Japan for the first time in a while, is also happening elsewhere. One theory is that consumers have too many choices due to the surfeit of information on the internet, so they tend to decide on a purchase for a simple reason. I suspect the same applies to the rise of fashion influencers. What do you think?