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Tokyo Story: Over 200 Stores Take Part in Japan

Japan’s capital is preparing to inject a bit of nightlife into the Omotesando and Aoyama neighborhoods.

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WWD Special Report issue 09/08/2009

TOKYO — Japan’s capital is preparing to inject a bit of nightlife into the Omotesando and Aoyama neighborhoods.

More than 200 retailers are participating in Tokyo’s edition of Fashion’s Night Out in some form, staying open until at least 11 p.m. on the evening of Sept. 11. Participants, which range from luxury labels to fast-fashion brands, are hoping the event will entice reticent customers to open their wallets as Japan inches its way out of an economic recession.

“I think it’s important for Japan right now because it’s a fashion event that is not just about showing fashion — like in a fashion show — but it’s actually for people to participate in and enjoy themselves,” said Michi Muramoto, a planning director with Japanese advertising agency Asatsu-DK, which is organizing the event with Vogue Nippon.

Omotesando Hills mall will play a central role in the evening’s festivities by hosting both the opening and closing ceremony. Television and radio personality Chris Peppler will emcee both events with the support of model Ai Tominaga. The opening ceremony will feature a live music performance by model-turned-pop singer Anna Tsuchiya.

Omotesando Hills will also host a silent auction of special items donated by Tominaga and other Japanese celebrities to benefit Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK), or Children Without Borders. Tokyo’s Fashion’s Night Out commemorative T-shirt, which features illustrations of the cartoon dogs Caperino & Peperone, also benefits KnK and the Keyaki Fund, en environmental charity. It will be sold at Omotesando Hills and other selected retailers.

Makoto Yoshida, deputy manager of Omotesando Hills Management Office, said the mall endorsed the project immediately.

“Japanese people love festivals, but there has never been a fashion-themed, neighborhood-wide event such as this before,” Yoshida said. “We needed a place where everyone could come together and enjoy themselves. So we have offered up our facility as that space, and we want to welcome everybody to it.”

Over the course of the evening, shoppers can collect stamps at the various stores when they make a purchase of at least 5,000 yen, or $54. Those with two or more stamps can enter a drawing at Omotesando Hills for prizes including a red patent leather handbag and gold Converse sneakers customized by Chrome Hearts.

Many brands with stores in the Omotesando/Aoyama district are offering up special products for the evening. Gucci will be selling eight black python shoulder bags exclusive to its Aoyama store for 288,750 yen, or about $3,100 each. Issey Miyake will give Tokyo shoppers a chance to snap up a black knit dress from the fall-winter collection for 50,400 yen, or $540, before it hits stores anywhere else. Pringle of Scotland will offer limited edition charity T-shirts designed by artist David Shringley for 12,600 yen, or $135, while trendy multibrand boutique Loveless will sell a special Fashion’s Night Out tote bag for 23,100 yen, or $248.

 

Others brands are taking the freebie route. In Emporio Armani’s case, the store is handing out mouse pads to commemorate the launch of the brand’s online shopping service. The flagship store of Ice Cream, the label cofounded by Pharrell Williams and Nigo, will be serving up free scoops of its namesake treat.

Some luxury brands are approaching the event from a technological perspective as well. Bulgari, Celine, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Loewe, Ralph Lauren, Tod’s and Yves Saint Laurent are all offering their own logoed cell phone operating systems. Visitors can download the programs by scanning their photos at the store. The service will be free for the evening, after which it will cost 1,050 yen, or about $11.