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Luxury Brand, Fast-Fashion Collaborations in Japan

February 28, 2012

Fast-fashion chain H&M recently launched new a collection in Tokyo developed in collaboration with Italian luxury brand Versace.

According to Japanese business weekly Toyokeizai, on the day of the collections' release last November, over 160 customers lined-up at H&M's Tokyo Ginza location before opening in anticipation of the launch. The collection's jackets and dresses are mostly priced between 10,000 and 30,000 JPY (100-300 USD) while those from the Versace label usually run more than 100,000 JPY (1,000 USD+).

Since 2004, H&M has periodically offered products and collections developed in collaboration with other luxury brands including Lanvin and Comme des Garcons, as a way of distinguishing itself from rivals. Following H&M's success however, other Japanese fast-fashion brands have also teamed up with luxury labels and famed designers for similar projects. Recent examples include Uniqlo's collaboration with Jil Sander and Muji's collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto.

Luxury brands are also considered to benefit from the collaborations. Through them, luxury brands are able to increase brand awareness among Japan's young by tapping into fast-fashion retailers' large networks of stores, including many outside Japan's main urban areas where most luxury brands have their shops. Luxury brands also mitigate the risk of damaging their brand image by offering cheaper items from their own brand or though directly-owned second lines.

Against the background of Japan's recent poor economy many luxury brands are struggling to attract younger buyers while their main customers are aging. The collaborations are seen as an opportunity to re-introduce young Japanese consumers to luxury brands. However large price differences remain between the jointly developed items and genuine ones offered by the luxury brands themselves. It therefore remains a challenge for luxury brands to quickly acquire new customers from their fast-fashion collaborations.

Source: Toyokeizai Online 11/12/16

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