John Ermatinger, Asia Pacific President of Gap believes that the Japanese are the most astute fashion consumers in the world. Perhaps that’s why the US fashion chain Gap has opened its Japanese flagship store in the heart of Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza shopping district. It is a four storey shop spread over 15,400 square feet. The strategy of the fashion house is to position itself as what is being called Fast Fashion in Japan.
It is something like fast food. It is not elaborate or very expensive but to your taste and very fashionable. The local label Uniqlo, Sweden’s H&M and Spain’s Zara are already occupying that space in Japan. The company had invited pop star Avril Lavigne to add glamour to the launch. To attract a large number of shoppers to the launch event the company gave away 200 pairs of jeans designed together with Lavigne.
Gap has a presence in Japan since mid 1990s but this is a conscious effort by the company to expand its share of the market in the country. The new store is their largest so far in Japan and will store men’s, women’s and baby fashion. The global downturn has battered most of the top luxury brands in Japan. The trend has shifted to affordable fashion. The Japanese apparel market is very large but brands that can strike a balance between being fashionable and affordable will be able to compete well in Japan.