We are off and running to our next destination to test our entrepreneurial skills in Japan. There is a reason that Japan has recently been voted the second best country for entrepreneurial opportunities. This does not relate so much to the opportunities for the International traveller unless dabbling into the robotic industry takes your fancy. However Japan isn’t all about Nissan and electronics.
There was a time when the youth of Japan relied heavily on a job in the corporate and public sector for stability. There is a turn in the tide with start-ups in e-commerce and internet facilities. There no longer is the stigma of failure amongst the new generation in business.
Japan has predominately been considered a tech platform where little known industries such as fashion have been thought to be a flash in the pan- short lived so to speak. People like Kenzo one of the pioneers in fashion and fragrance has inspired others to follow in his footsteps with brands such as Chisato Tsumori who worked with well-known Issey Miyake in 1977 before going it alone in 1990. Creating bold and elegantly eye catching designs with her hand drawn prints has seen her shoot to fame in the US and Paris where she now resides.
Shinsuke Takisawa the creative founder of the Neighborhood brand has combined urban street wear with work wear making an impact on the high end of Japans fashion scene. Yoshiho Kubo is quite quirky in his designs after studying in New York under design icon Robert Danes. He is well known for creating elaborate hair and make-up to accompany his apparel.
One designer that is a standout for me is Yu Amatsu who began as a pattern maker for Marc Jacobs and Jen Kao. In 2010 he branched out with his brand ‘A Degree Fahrenheit’ creating softly draping bodices and wearable street designs. He partnered with Japanese fashion house Hanae Mori to promote to a new generation stylist. Using linens and soft fabrics to make the garment feel sensual and flattering- my kind of garment.
While moving to Japan to find fame in the fashion industry may not be your idea of becoming an entrepreneur, many of the designers I have mentioned have started by moving to the US and studying under other well respected fashion houses to establish credibility first.
Not all have travelled outside the country to find fame. Hiroko Takahashi a Tokyo based artist and designer is bringing back the kimono with a 60’s retro look predominately using circles and lines. Fashion inspired her journey into fragrance with Japanese Stories being born.
The opportunity need not be in the design and manufacture of garments but as an importer of fine fashion from a country that courts impeccably creative designers.
What is the next step I wonder in a land of robotics and style? Maybe catwalk models will be accompanied by a long lean machine swivelling and strutting at a future Milan Fashion Week. Maybe there won’t be a need for hair and make-up, just saying. Be an entrepreneur, you never know where it will lead you.
Written by Deanne Scanlan on behalf of Small Business Association of Australia.
Deanne is an SBAA Sponsor/Member, Journalist and Owner of Deanne Scanlan Travel.