Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Japanese crisis

There's a bit of a crisis going on among the purveyors of luxury Japanese clothing. Brands like Visvim, Bape, Fragment and Neighborhood have always been a bit of a challenge to get hold of at the best of times - they've only ever been officially available at a few London retailers such as the Hideout, Dover Street Market and Busy Workshop.

But Busy Workshop in Upper James Street shut down a few months ago, downsizing to a capsule shack within Dover Street Market, and the Hideout, also in Upper James Street, didn't order any more Visvim for this season because they had planned to relocate. Which leaves nowhere but Dover Street Market (again) offering a couple of Visvim collabs.

With the strength of the yen against the pound anything you do find is going to cost the proverbial arm and leg, if you're lucky. DSM is retailing Visvim footwear at upwards of £400 for a pair of kicks which last year was retailing for £20o-ish.

The only place to find any of this stuff without visiting Japan in person is going to be online, but with the exchange rate as it is, the sterling price of Japanese clothing is going to be astronomical.

The Hideout staff are a little concerned by the whole episode and have admitted that the clothing brands which occupy 90 per cent of their stock is going to be a reckless choice even for those on footballers wages.

However it's worth remembering that these brands were launched and flourished in a country which has aready spent a decade in recession. Their exclusivity and quality will carry them through this one.

The only question is how much hardship those with the Japanese clothing tendencies can put up with to remain loyal.

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