Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Wrong in So Many Ways

Coco Masters on what makes young women "swoon" (I am not making this up).

Fast Fashion

Tokyo's Harajuku district is where to find Japan's fashion-forward youth. Every weekend, sidewalks disappear under a frenzy of shoppers looking for new trends. The latest: fast-fashion retailing. During the Golden Week holiday in early May, typically a shopping extravaganza, Los Angeles–based chain Forever 21 debuted its flagship store in Japan. Harajuku girls lined up on five floors full of clothes, shoes and accessories in enough of a dizzying array to make any young woman swoon. It wasn't the first time the giants of cheap chic had stormed Tokyo. Last November about 2,500 shoppers jammed the very same sidewalk for the opening of Swedish H&M, the world's third largest casual-clothing retailer, located next door. And that was just one month after the launch of British retailer Topshop a few stores down.

This is the new Harajuku. The once superstylish district is rapidly transforming into an outdoor mall of the titans of casual clothing — H&M, Uniqlo, Topshop, Gap, Zara and now Forever 21 — all competing for wardrobe space within a few hundred meters of one another. Expensive Japanese boutique stores are receding to the backstreets...
Sidewalks? In Harajuku? Where?

What "expensive Japanese boutiques are receding to the backstreets"? Last time I looked (admitedly, it was in April) expensive boutiques were in Omotesandō, not Harajuku.

Is Forever 21 even in Uniqlo's league? Looking at the clothes the company is hawking in the United States, I find myself muttering the names of the now-forgotten eighth, ninth and tenth dwarves: Shoddy, Flimsy and Sleazy.

Not a good sign.

But when it comes to reporting on the fashion and apparel business, TIME is a brand name you can trust, right? Honestly, how could anyone ever forget this report?

Will someone at TIME please pay the underappreciated W. David Marx to take a sledgehammer to this pap?

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