The Downscaling of Ginza, The Changing Face Of Japanese Luxury
Tokyo's Ginza district has long been known as Japan's most fashionable shopping street but the street's changes reflecting the country's fluctuating economic picture. The Independent has an interesting piece on the street's shifting fortunes which have seen luxury brands moving out to make room for a new kind of retailer. In 2008 Louis Vuitton scrapped plans for a new Ginza flagship store. Last year, Versace pulled out of Japan altogether. But those store windows aren't staying vacant. Instead fast fashion stores like Uniqlo, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and Zara have moved in. The operators of Japan's Seibu department store announced that the store is closing but Forever 21 is moving in. Where there was once Gucci, now there is Gap.
Last year I wrote about the changing look of luxury in Japan. In the past years, logo-chasing was important to the Japanese shead-to-toe Louis Vuitton was seen as chic. Now many trendsetters favor a high-low approach, combining expensive pieces with more inexpensive items or pairing vintage finds with new pieces. The Ginza area still has enough fancy stores to attract tourists in search of a bit of glamour but with tourism down, focusing on more dependable, regular shoppers seems like a smart strategy.