The growing interest in the pop-culture of South Korea has caused its fashion industry to join the wave and open new stores in Tokyo, with plans to open more. Clothing companies as well as cosmetic brands are trying to establish themselves in the Japanese market.
South Korea finds Japan’s clothing industry, which is worth about 9 trillion yen (approx. $91 billion), to be conducive for overseas market. A number of Korean clothing brands have already established stores in the Harajuku District, while some are sold online. As for Korean cosmetics, fastest growing makeup brand Tony Moly opened its first store in Japan in June. M’s Co., the cosmetic brand’s agent, is also planning to open a hundred more branches.
Fashion retailer E-Land Co. also opened a store for its SPAO brand in Yokohama back in July. The outlet brand, which offers casual and business clothing, already has more than 10,000 stores in South Korea and China. The designs are inspired by the latest trend in Europe but are cut to fit Asian customers. It is even planning to create a product line exclusive for Japanese customers with the goal of 30 stores opened by 2015 in the country.
On August 23, “Always Colorful” Dolly & Molly opened its first shop in Japan at PARCO Department Store in Shibuya. Famous K-pop groups Girls’ Generation and Kara are known to have worn clothes from Dolly & Molly, giving the clothing brand the advantage of winning customers. On September 1st, it also set up a booth outside PARCO to attract more customers. “We’re not limiting ourselves to fans of Korean pop culture. We want to appeal to a broader audience,” a spokesperson of Dolly & Molly said. Among those who passed by its booth was a vocational student who thought of the designs to look American. “We intend to develop designs that match Japanese tastes,” said the spokesperson.
Even though South Korean brands are trying to make names in Japanese market, there also remain a number of Koreans who patronize Japanese culture. The latest interest shown by South Koreans has been for art exhibits, animation, and literature, showing that South Koreans, with regard to Japanese culture, remain interested and not affected despite disputes between the neighbouring countries.