Japan's Largest Fashion Business Trade Show
Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan
January 22-24, 2014
Where Quality-Conscious Big Buyers Come to Find Small but Energetic Fashion Creators
The Japan Fashion Week - International Fashion Fair (JFW-IFF) is Japan's largest fashion business trade show, held in January and July each year at the Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, Tokyo.
For Small-and-Medium Firms in the Fashion Industry, It Pays to Come to Japan and JFW-IFF
You don't have to be a large international apparel firm to participate in Tokyo's JFW-IFF tradeshow. Although the Bi-Annual International Fashion Fair includes many large apparel makers, the January event seemed particularly dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Many of these were located in pavilions dedicated to their country or region.
Mr. Rashidul Islam, commercial counselor of the Bangladesh Embassy in Tokyo, was overseeing the Bangladeshi Pavilion. "This show is good", he said, "because there are no casual visitors. It's an importer's show, so there are business matching, possibilities to meet investors, and so on." Another member of this pavilion, Mr. Bana Hashimoto of Rahnaa Co., Ltd. agreed that the show "is business oriented - and these business people are surprised at the high quality of Bangladeshi goods." Ms. Saraikorn Peerathanawit of Soluxe Spa Uniform, in the Thai Pavilion, said it was a good show: "We got a new customer today, for whom we will make uniforms for the attendants at a Japanese Onsen [hot springs spa]!"
The bright and lively Hawaii Pavilion hosted 11 Hawaii-based apparel and accessory makers and retailers. Hawaiian firms are especially gungho about the Japanese market because of the high number of Japanese tourists who visit the islands regularly. Said Ms. Andrea Weymouth Fujie of the East Honolulu Clothing Company, "We're here to develop brand awareness for Japanese customers when they come to Hawaii. We've even met people at this show who have already shopped at our Honolulu stores! And famous Hawaiian musicians and hula dancers wear our products when they tour Japan." Another Hawaiian, Mr. Sparky Doo of Wings Sportswear, Inc. summed it up this way: "We come to this show because the players are here. This is the gateway to Asia. We will always be in this show - it's a must for the Japanese market."
A Good Place to Show Off Authentic, High Quality Hand-Crafted Fashions and Accessories
All the exhibitors were aware of the keen interest that Japanese buyers show for high quality and authentic specialty items. Mr. Tossapol Monaraks of Green Cotton Co. Ltd. (Thailand) noted that "Japanese customers are always looking for new fashions," and Mr. Li Wei of Wenzhou Maiwei Shoe Industries Co., Ltd. said that "Japanese customers are very fashion conscious and good prospects for our shoe products.""
A good way to attract interest is with authentic hand-crafted articles. At the East Honolulu Clothing Company booth, Ms. Andrea Weymouth Fujie remarked, "The Japanese buyers really appreciate that we hand-print and hand-cut all materials ourselves." Ms. Gurpreet Anand of Fashion Folio (India) noted that "Japan likes Indian handicrafts, they appreciate quality work." Fashion Folio's newest collections had been a hit in Europe, so she was bringing them to the Japan market at this show.
Mr. Milton Kwock, Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs for the State of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, summed it up nicely: "In other countries they talk price. In Japan, they talk quality."
If Your Budget is Limited, Pooling Resources with Others in a Shared Pavilion is the Way To Go!
Speaking of pavilions, many international firms expressed great satisfaction with their participation in their national or regional pavilions. A typical comment came from Mr. Monaraks: "The Thai pavilion is more cost-efficient for SMEs." Nearly everyone at the Hawaii pavilion said the same.
But the pavilion idea was also eagerly embraced by local Japanese firms as well. JFW-IFF this year featured a Pet Zone for manufacturers and retailers of dog and cat accessories - complete with fashion-modelling pooches! Mr. Masayuki Adachi of Teramoto Corporation emphasized how vital a pooling of resources is for SMEs wanting to participate in these major shows. "A group of us smaller firms entered together, so we were able to design an area that made each of our booths more prominent," he said. Pet goods are a new line of business for his company, and exhibiting at this show is crucial to his firm's strategy. "The visitors are so varied that we get lots of great new ideas for products just by listening to what these buyers want. At a big show like this, they're willing to pay good money for high quality."
But you have to be there for them to see you! Whether foreign or domestic, for SMEs wishing to sell into the Japanese fashion apparel and accessories market, a good place to get started would be at your local government's business development office, to see what resources are available to create a pavilion for you and other local firms at the next JFW-IFF.
|Exhibition Name||Japan Fashion Week - International Fashion Fair (JFW-IFF)|
|Dates||January 22-24, 2014|
|Frequency||Bi-annual (29th time in January 2014)|
|Venue||Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan|
|Theme||Fashion business tradeshow for buyers and sellers of fashion apparel and accessories|
|Exhibitor Totals||545 Firms/Organizations|
|Visitor Totals||22,026 visitors|
|Ticketing||Free for all fashion-related businesses; Foreign Firms do not need pre-registration, but should bring 2 business cards on day of visit|
|Organizer||SENKEN SHIMBUN Co, Ltd.|
Secretariat of JFW-International Fashion Fair (c/o ICS Convention Design, Inc.)
TEL: +81-3 3219-3566