The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

Tokyo fashion: Elegant fashion from Switzerland adding to Ginza renaissance

Tokyo fashion: Elegant fashion from Switzerland adding to Ginza renaissance

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In Tokyo the district of Ginza means style, sophistication and the crème de la crème of Japanese and international boutiques. Recently, a new vibe is emerging once more in Ginza and Yurakucho because of the opening of new department stores and fabulous international boutiques.

Luxury companies from Switzerland have opened three new stores in the last few months and this is adding to a new vibe in Ginza. Akris is a company which is famous for exquisite fashion and accessories and clearly Ginza was the ideal choice.

The rich history of Akris fits in well with Ginza because sophistication and crème de la crème fashion companies, is the reality of this plush and refined district in Tokyo. Akris was created in 1922 by Alice Kriemler-Schoch and just like images of Switzerland which applies to stunning beauty, refinement and a nation which is confident and sophisticated. Then Akris and other refined fashion companies from Switzerland are creating a lovely and elegant vibe and adding to the renaissance of Ginza.

The fashion house Akris is based on Haute Couture craftsmanship, minimalism, elegance and the finest material. Other impeccable facts about this company apply to sheer innovation, understanding the complexity of fashion in the modern world and providing a look which is chic and elegant.

Bally just like Akris have opened a new stunning boutique in Ginza and this magnificent fashion company is extremely rich in history. Carl Franz Bally and Fritz his brother founded this company in 1851. However, Fritz would soon leave but Carl Franz Bally was undeterred and by the 1860s this innovative company employed over 500 individuals and expansion would continue because the quality shoes were in high demand.

The reputation of Bally speaks for itself because sophistication and amazing merchandize is all rolled into one. In 1976 Bally reached out to new markets because now this sublime company also focused on handbags, clothing and leather accessories.

However, 1977 would witness a major event because the Bally family now sold all their interests in this exquisite company but the foundation stone of Carl Franz Bally remained in spirit and name.

Not surprisingly, teething problems began to emerge because the global market was changing and developing nations were flooding the market. Despite this, it is clear that this wasn’t the real issue because Bally stands for refinement, exquisite quality and their client base is very different.

Therefore, a negative period began to unfold but the rich history of Bally and remaining loyal to high quality merchandise, meant that a new renaissance for this company would once more emerge. This renaissance can be seen by recent bold moves and the opening of Bally in Ginza was certainly well planned because this part of Tokyo is a fitting place for such a stylish and graceful company.

Freitag, unlike Bally and Akris, isn’t based on such a rich history but just like the founder of Bally this company had a firm direction and responded to the environment that shaped their thinking. Feitag have firmly established themselves internationally and in Japan this hip and stylish company is certainly in demand.

In an article by Regula Brechbuhl called “Freitag – The Designer Bag With a Conscience” the author comments in 2008 that “It was 1993 when the brothers Daniel and Markus Freitag introduced their first Freitag bag with its distinctive, unisex design. The bag caught on fast with young people in Zurich, and soon became a must-have item, mainly because they were colorful, original and carried a message about environmental friendliness, as they were pieced together from bits of recycled truck tarps. That year, the brothers produced just 40 bags – by 1994, it was five times as many. The brothers’ timing was just right: This was the period when people, students especially, were getting into heated arguments about the destruction of the forests, the importance of recycling and the detriments of environmental pollution. So the two designers were suddenly hailed as visionaries.”

Further down the article by Regula Brechbuhl it is stated that “…the Freitag credo: loving attention to detail. For example, a photograph is taken of every bag produced, then attached to it with a description of how that particular model came about…..This is just the sort of detail that appeals to Japanese consumers…. Freitag products are now on sale in 36 Japanese city center shops (applies to 2008). “What’s currently happening in Japan, is just what happened in Switzerland between 2000 and 2003,” says CEO Streuli. “We are now concentrating on markets with a similar growth curve, and in which the product is well understood, including urban centers in Japan, Germany, Benelux, Italy and Scandinavia. The potential for growth is gigantic.”

Akris, Bally, and Freitag, have their own individual history and this also applies to their respective relationship with Japanese consumers. However, to have such exquisite companies opening up in Ginza in 2011 speaks volumes about the current renaissance in Ginza and Yurakucho which go into each other.

Switzerland is famous for stunning beauty, highly advanced economy, sophistication and a nation which is confident. These three companies will bring their own style and innovation to the heart of Ginza. Therefore, Japanese consumers of luxury products alongside tourists who visit fashionable Ginza will all benefit.

Indeed, Ginza and these three sublime companies is a perfect match!

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