A few years ago I researched the Japanese luxury fashion market for another project and discovered the Japanese love of high fashion and luxury clothing labels.
Probably there are very few people outside of the luxury market who realize just how crucial the Japanese predilection for high fashion is to the global industry, but when you learn that something like 25%-30% of all luxury clothing is bought in Japan, it takes on extreme importance to the big brands.
Japan’s consumption equals that of Europe or the USA, but with more than twice the per capita spending in those regions. One remarkable fact is that around half of all Japanese women own a Louis Vuitton handbag; in fact sitting here in the Senator lounge are two Japanese ladies, one of whom is toting Vuitton.
Japanese consumers gorge on high fashion labels like Giorgio Armani, and if there is one square mile on the planet that is a serious contender for black label ground zero, it is Ginza in downtown Tokyo.
I have been to Tokyo several times before, and shopping in Ginza as a bystander rather than a serious participant, but in an hour I will board an 11 hour flight to Narita for a mind-jarring 3 day visit to Japan, and along the way have a chance to go shopping – and even dining – at one of Giorgio Armani’s global flagship stores in central Ginza.
Ginza fashion shoppers are dedicated people: I remember seeing a line that literally went around a city block, including being split across a road crossing, for a new store opening in Ginza a few years ago. That devotion to the hardcore luxury labels, plus the high percentage of disposable income they transmit to the boutiques, makes them prime customers, and I hope and expect to see some unique local features in the next couple of days that will make this trip a highlight for Armani Man.