Kate Spade crafts Saturday brand for Japan's trendsetters

Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:01am EDT
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By Chris Gallagher

TOKYO (Reuters) - Given Kate Spade Saturday's bold designs, bright colors and creative flair, it was probably only fitting that the new lifestyle brand opened its first flagship store in fashion-obsessed Tokyo.

After all, the sister label of Kate Spade New York began developing the brand with Japanese consumers in mind more than three years ago, envisaging functional designs that would strike a chord with on-the-go urbanites and expand the original brand's DNA into a more casual realm.

Kate Spade Saturday opened its first store in Tokyo's trendy Harajuku district earlier this month and another in Osaka last week, and plans to have a total of five Japan stores open by June. Following the Japan launch, it also debuted in the United States via an online store and is eyeing a push into other international markets later this year.

"Because this brand's concept originated in Japan and we really wanted to make the brand global, we felt Tokyo was the perfect city to launch the brand," Ayako Yanagisawa, president of Kate Spade Japan, told Reuters in an interview at the company's offices in Harajuku.

"I think Tokyo is a very interesting city for the fashion industry to try out a new brand. The market is mature enough to receive, and digest, and understand new creativity. There is also a wide age range of people who like fashion in this city," she said.

"It can be a real showcase for the Asian market."

Tokyo has served as an overseas launch point in recent years for several brands, including designers Rebecca Minkoff and Tracy Reese. Both the Rebecca Minkoff and Tracy Reese brands showed at the Tokyo Runway fashion show Wednesday held in conjunction with Japan Fashion Week.

TRENDSETTERS   Continued...

A clerk works at Kate Spade's new Saturday label store in Tokyo March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai