We continue our profiles on the state of Asian retail with a look at the Ron Herman Japan offering. With more than five stores in Japan (with a sixth on the way), Ron Herman is a local leader in menswear and fashion. Medium Concepts’ Paul Conrad sat down with Taizo Nagahara, buyer for Ron Herman Japan to get a sense of the market in Japan.
1. What is fashion to Japan?
Unlike the “west”, Japan lacks a history of which we can call fashion/ style. We don’t have a rich subculture that it was built upon, since we only track back to post-war.
To the Japanese, fashion is entirely a form of expression. We take to it as a tool to enjoy trends, and furthermore, a way to describe that moment/time in history. This is why the Japanese have accomplished a deeper and more sophisticated measure towards this form of art – this is why trends here are appreciated, and often exaggerated beyond measures.
2. How did you get into the postion you are in today?
In 1997, I joined Tomorrowland CO, Ltd, and where I worked for many years learning the ins and outs. In 2003, 6 years after paying my dues, I was appointed the casual clothing buying position for the company. I led this department for 8 years.
In 2011, I took up the mens buying postion for Ron Herman Japan, which had just opened to the retail scene here.
3. What is the DNA/origins of Ron Herman Japan?
In 1976, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA the Ron Herman specialty retail store was first conceived. The origin was to showcase “California Style” through fashion. In Japan, we have focused to keep the same concept. We believe that fashion is something that can be beautiful, inspiring, and get this – filled with happiness.
Our goal in Japan is for customers to enjoy the “experience” of shopping with us- we want everyone to feel the love we put into fashion, and the harmony of style. Our relaxed, friendly environment that Ron Herman was built upon, this is what we want you to experience- that loose, laid back vibe, truly unique to Southern California, in fact, its truly unique to Los Angeles. To us at Ron Herman, fashion is all about freedom and expression.