At the end of July, influential buyers from around the world gathered at
fashion trade shows such as JFW-IFF, Moda Italia and Mode in France. Each exhibition showcased pieces
from 2016 S/S collections, which highlighted floral prints, ethnic themes and unique colorblocks as
opposed to the “normcore” trend. It was surprising that despite the negative factors such as exchange
rate volatility and the middle class spending less, participating overseas brands showed high expectations
for the Japan market.
“(In Asia) we do a lot of business with the Chinese fashion stores, but hope to increase distribution
to Japanese department stores moving forward. We see Japan as a stable market, in a good sense. Sales in
China are certainly growing but we hope for a more widespread structure”, said a trade representative of
the ready-to-wear brand O DE MAI which participated in the Mode in France. We heard similar views from other
participating brands as well, such as “We would like to start participating in Japan’s trade shows again” and
“Japanese buyers don’t disappoint”. This seems to be a reflection of our mid-long term dedication and achievements.
Many similar comments came from those who participated in the Moda Italia. The Italian export business has
been under difficulties and Russia, one of the major markets for Italian fashion, is under economic sanctions
due to the Ukraine crisis. The Trade Promotion Office of the Embassy of Italy, the host of Moda Italia, has also
commented, “Luxury items used to sell well in Russia, so the decline has hit us hard. Business in the US has been
growing with the recovering economy, but it does not compensate for the decline in Russia.” Not only has exports
to Russia been unpredictable, the EU is in decline due to the Greek crisis. This makes it only necessary to find
growth in Asian markets.
On the other hand, we are seeing fewer buyers visiting JFW-IFF, which has participants mainly from Japan,
China, Korea, India and Bangladesh. It seems the increase of overseas brands using OEMs, in addition to the
lack of originality and quality to meet the higher standards of buyers is influencing the decrease in interest.
There has also been fewer variations in products, given that Japanese designers are moving more towards smaller
trade shows. The environment of trade shows in Japan is constantly changing due to global influences such as exchange
rate fluctuations, the political situation in Russia, the Greek crisis and the Chinese economy, and it seems safe to
say these circumstances can not be changed by Japan alone.