Thanks to its Chinese shareholders, Baroque Japan is now gearing up for a new life as a multinational fashion retailer. Last month it showcased four new apparel brands aimed at both increasing market share at home and accelerating expansion in Asia, while also launching a new footwear chain.
Baroque held a trade exhibition for its new global brand Garment Seven last month. As previously reported, Baroque’s new subsidiary Frame Japan has been tasked with creating new chains for both Japan and international markets. Garment Seven is the first, developed under the direction of creative director Eddie Van Narc, previously at Restir, and a team based in New York.
Garment Seven aims to offer high quality design at reasonable prices. Baroque is tying up with a host of international artists, designers, musicians and so on to emphasise the brand’s design credentials, as well as deliver an ongoing series of collaborative mini collections to keep stores fresh and in the press. Stores will carry a full line up including footwear and accessories – shoes are expected to make up as much as 30% of SKUs – with average prices of ¥12,000 for shoes, ¥8,000 for bags, ¥4,000 for tops and ¥8,000 for denims. The first stores will open in Parco Nagoya, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando and Tokyu’s flagship in Shibuya in September.
Garment Seven is just the first of four new brands from Frame Japan. The three others will also be launched this Autumn, and Baroque plans a combined 30 stores in the first few months alone. The other brands are House Commune, a contemporary upper end fashion brand also produced in New York, aimed at the over 30s, and Peggy Lana and Chardy Peggy Lana. House Commune will be shown off at its own exhibition in New York during New York Fashion Week.
Peggy Lana and its sister brand are casual apparel brands, although Peggy Lana is designed for department stores and fashion buildings with average prices of ¥20,000; Chardy is aimed at the SC market and a younger 20s customer with prices averaging around ¥10,000 – dresses will sell for ¥7,000-15,000. About 40% of Chardy merchandise will be accessories and footwear. The direction for both chains is being handled by Yuki Hoshino, formerly at Bonica Dot. Peggy Lana will launch in Seibu Ikebukuro as well as Odakyu and Takashimaya in Shinjuku in September with 13 stores planned for this A/W. Chardy Peggy Lana will get seven stores, all in SCs. Smaller, accessories only stores are also planned.
All chains will start in Japan but trial stores are expected shortly in China and Hong Kong managed by Frame HK and Baroque’s principle shareholder Belle International. Belle International has a dominant position in footwear in China – sales of ¥700 billion from 20,000 stores of which 2,000 opened last year alone – and is keen to use Baroque’s expertise to take a slice of the apparel market in China, as well as move into Japan for footwear.
At the beginning of July, the two companies announced a tie up to build a global footwear chain for Staccato, the highest end brand in Belle’s portfolio, with a design team made up of a mix of Hong Kong and Italian designers. The chain will launch in Japan this September with a store in Lumine Est, with Belle International handling operations in Greater China. For the Japanese market, Baroque has selected the lines it feels will sell best in Japan, with some customisation just for Japan – from Spring 2015 an additional Japan-only collection will be produced. Prices here will average around ¥15,000-20,000 and Baroque is hoping for sales of ¥10-20 billion within three years.
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