I'd read an article this morning on the Wall Street Journal website quoting Chief Executive of Forever 21, Larry Meyer saying:
"Luxury is not in vogue right now given the lack of consumer confidence. As in the U.S., in Japan there has been an underlying group of people who couldn't afford luxury and wanted trend-like fashion at a lower price—the downturn has made that market that much larger."
Read Article on The Wall Street Journal Digital Network
Although "not in vogue" is intended to be in terms of fashion, I have to point out that within Vogue I've seen many Topshop adverts and Topshop products being featured. Could the high street be taking over Vogue? They're a business that has to give people what they want, but I doubt it. People can buy Glamour magazine if they want to find something affordable, Vogue is all about getting an insight, gaining information, and using it to suit yourself. People who really read Vogue know what to do with it, they don't use it to carry to fashion school.
So back to the article, the real focus is how Japan is going crazy for new stores like Forever 21 and H&M while Versace is pulling out and LVMH "expects sales of high-end clothing, accessories, tableware, cosmetics and jewelry will drop by 10% in Japan this year."
Why the change of heart?
Christine Edman, H&M's Japan country manager and representative director said "Caring about value and quality has been in Japan for a long time, but it's more pronounced now because of the recession. The Japanese know that lower prices do not mean bad quality."
"[Office Ladies] are seeing their bonuses cut or getting no overtime pay, so they're cutting back," says Mr. Aoki from BoA-Merrill Lynch. "People are cutting back on clothes and groceries and making more fundamental lifestyle choices by spending on things like books, eating out, instruments and televisions."
Well we all know there's a recession and there's been a drop in sales, but clothes are still being bought. The question is, why is Japan, renowned for loving labels, suddenly opting for High Street? I think it's just because it's a bargain. They have their luxury goods that will last them a lifetime, now something new (and cheaper) has come along and they want in, even if it is just during the recession.