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Chinese designers descend on Japan fashion show


08:49, July 23, 2012

Chinese designers have descended on Tokyo to showcase their latest lines. But with a shrinking Japanese population reluctant to spend, fashion retailers are discovering there's no middle ground. Clothes have to be cheap and cheerful, ultra-chic, or sometimes, targeted at customers with four legs.

Blending old and new, east and west "Ne Tiger" claims to be China's first luxury brand. Founder and Art Director Zhifeng Zhang has brought his haute couture "Hua-fu" line to Japan, the most profitable market for many luxury brands.

By bringing its top designers here to showcase their high fashion lines China's trying to break the preconception that it's just a cheap manufacturing base for the fashion industry the head designer at this company "Shugar" says that her lines are perfect for the Japanese market.

Joe Zhu, Shugar head designer, said, "Our clothes have flowers, lace and chiffon. The material is soft and flowing with lots of sweet colors that are beautiful and cute, how do you say that in Japanese? Kawaii "

A Chinese designer makes Japanese-fashions for a Hong Kong company. That's typical of the eclectic approach needed to succeed in Japan's tough retail market. The theory works the other way round

The shoes on this French car are made in Italy by a Japanese company. The cloth is made from recycled plastic bottles. The organizer of this fashion fair says unique design twist like this is essential to attract choosy Chinese buyers.

Hiroshi Watanabe, director of Int'l Fashion Fair, said, "Up until now Chinese companies brought their products to Japan to sell. Now Chinese companies are coming here to buy Japanese goods, things that aren't available in China, and taking them back to sell there."

For designers who prefer to find new customers in Japan the focus is moving away from the catwalk. And into the doghouse, the country's falling birthrate is being matched by a rise in pet ownership. It may only be a matter of time before Ne-Tiger is replaced by Alo Alo Doggy.


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