Bizel: "The trends in Japan are unique because brands don’t copy"
Born in the French city of Lyon, Loic Bizel works as a consultant for major
international fashion brands in Tokyo, Japan. He came to Asia in 1995 while
working as an export manager for shoe firms such as Paraboot, Elizabet
Stuart and Palladium. After five years in the business and dealing with
companies such as Beams, Isetan, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des
Garçons, he set up his own consultancy and the “Tokyo Fashion Tour”, which
was tailor-made for fashion designers worldwide seeking innovation and
trends in all areas of the business.
Some of Bizel’s customers are the department stores Galeries Lafayette
and Nordstrom; the Swedish chain H&M, C&A, Primark, Topshop, Timberland
and The North Face, among others.
FashionUnited was in Tokyo and had the opportunity to talk with Bizel
about its work and what brands, new trends and the Japanese fashion market
are looking for today.
How do you work with fashion firms that call you?
Tours are part of the consulting work and are tailored to the needs of
the client. Some come to see novelties in store lighting concepts and
others, the way products are displayed, for example. In some cases there
are customers who want to focus on design and come to see trends, so we set
the itinerary to visit different stores to meet their requests, taking into
account new concepts, rising brands, etc.
#mastermindjapan #spring2018 #vanscollabs #japanfashion
What do brands look for now?
In recent years, we have noticed an increased demand for new concepts,
not just fashion but something more global like lifestyle and experiences
when buying. There is an obvious evolution. For example, there are more and
more cafes and bakeries in clothing boutiques and this has to do with these
concepts of mixing different experiences to attract the consumer. Another
area showing an upward trend is the digital universe.
Where is digital going?
There is a current that is gradually increasing, which is known as “o to
o: online to offline”. Many brands are testing taking people from online to
offline and vice versa. For example, Zara’s shop in Roppongi Hills (Tokyo)
is undergoing repairs, so they installed a pop-up where you can see and
touch clothes, but the sale is virtual, so people can see the products
offline and buying online. It is a test and we are still at an early stage
of what is to come. There is a slight increase in the cosmetic universe
where considerable investment is being made in virtual reality. Also,
Zara’s pop-up in Japan combines offline and online channels.
#shibuya #virtualreality #japanfashion #tokyofashiontour
What is happening with the fashion industry in Japan?
The Japanese market is fairly stable. Local fashion has evolved a lot in
the past 20 years. Previously, everything went through department stores
and some exclusive stores until some domestic brands began to operate
independently doing everything from design and production to the final sale
without going through department stores. Now, there are large companies in
Japan operating their own brands and producing in Asia.
What is the place of fast fashion?
There are local fast fashion brands that renew their products every week
and, in stores, you can see news and articles announcing discounts almost
every day. In terms of design and trends, the Japanese are very quick to
incorporate and adapt to innovation. That is why the trends seen here are
unique because brands are not copied from each other as they may be in
other places. Large European companies come to Japan to look for
“inspiration” but local brands don’t care because they are generally not
focused on exports.
What are Japanese consumers like?
It depends on the segment, but I must say that there is less and less
segmentation. Young people are attracted to fast fashion because it is
inexpensive and trendy. For other sectors. it has to do with focusing more
on quality than on quantity. In general, people between 28 and 30 choose
quality and prefer to pay a hundred dollars for a Fred Perry T-shirt that
will last ten years instead of a cheap imitation that won’t even last for
What is the trend today in Japanese retail?
Small local brands and concept stores that invite you to have a
different shopping experience with cafés, flower shops, wine tastings and
even stores embedded in old houses that retain their structure, particular
aroma and personalised assistance.
This article was originally published at FashionUnited.es.
Images: Carolina Allen, Loic Bizel, @japanfashion