Apparel makers seek to sell you a lifestyle

Apparel makers seek to sell you a lifestyle

JAPAN - Major clothing makers are enhancing their new stores under a lifestyle concept, offering customers products other than fashion items in a bid to compete with the growing fast-fashion industry.

Major Japanese apparel manufacturers have recently started offering items such as household goods, food products and bicycles at their stores, as they seek to appeal to the lifestyle interests of customers.

In September, Jun Co. opened a new shop, Salon Adam et Rope, in a shopping complex attached to JR Kichijoji Station in Tokyo's Musashino.

The shop sells a variety of goods, including simply designed clothing made with natural materials and targeted at women in their late 20s who like a muted fashion style. The store also sells baked goods from a popular bakery and seasonal food items.

The neighbouring cafe serves dishes prepared using plates and ingredients sold in the store, offering customers a chance to have a lifestyle experience. As part of such a promotion, the shop plans to organise seminars led by experts in a variety of fields.

"We want to provide lifestyle-related information [through our business style] and produce our own magazine in the future," a Jun official said.

Adastria Holdings Co., which operates Lowrys Farm, a shop that is popular with young women, will launch its first Bayflow store in spring.

The store, which will be designed to capture the everyday lives of people in their 30s and 40s on the West Coast of the United States, will sell furniture and bath products.

Onward Holdings Co. will also open a large store in spring based on the lifestyle proposal concept. In February, the company bought Sakula Co., a bicycle shop operator, and plans to enhance its lineup of products themed on a lifestyle involving the regular use of a bike.

Such specialised stores are becoming popular in Europe and the United States. Many offer products under a single theme, such as design or diet, to lure customers with lifestyle-related interests.

In recent years, major Japanese apparel makers have struggled to compete with expanding fast-fashion makers, such as Uniqlo, which sell products in bulk and supply them at a low cost.

As a result, many apparel makers have targeted groups of customers outside their original demographic.

"We're competing [against the fast-fashion makers] with our ability to propose [a lifestyle], making people think, 'I'd like to live like this,'" said Adastria Director Osamu Kimura.

By offering a variety of goods that cost less than clothing, more customers are expected to drop in or buy products while shopping for something else, Kimura said.

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