One of the challenges for the world’s fashion industry has been “protecting” their brands. Building a brand is incredibly hard work in any industry, but in fashion you are often trying to create a brand that is aspirational, that is desirable, that people are prepared to pay a premium for, because it is being positioned correctly, in the right way, at the right time.
While many fashion houses & designers have outsourced labour-intensive production to the Far East (to develop a lower cost base and therefore, a higher return to business), this initially seemed to result in higher incidences of intellectual property infringement. Shopping in the Far East is still synonymous with counterfeit goods, often of inferior quality to the real deal.
However, things are slowly changing, and one of the interesting trends that we are currently seeing is a rise in high quality & original clothing lines and fashion goods, designed and manufactured in the Far East, but now able to match it with the best that the world’s designers can offer. Let’s take a look at some of the emerging brands that we have come across as BagWise and we think they are worth keeping an eye on, in the highly competitive bags market.
Zaleza is a Japanese leather specialist that creates vegetable-tanned leather handbags. Trained in Germany, the Master artesan Kaneda emphasizes that the secret is in the quality of the leather, the natural botanical dyes & manual processes.
The leather craftsmanship from 1800s is still preserved within the establishment, which Himeji City is famous for Japanese Tannery.
As far as we are aware, Zalezsa is the first and only brand to use light pigment on leather to show beautiful motives under UV light. The distinctive coloured lining used in these bags is an eye-catcher as well. Very aesthetic !
Based out of Hong Kong, Zkin make clever, young-spirited camera bags. If you are finally bored of black polyester, super plain black photo bags of major brands (they know who they are!), Zkin bags look perfect for multi-dimensional life styles, especially for the ones who work in design or creative industries.
If you cycle to work and around regularly, you can easily elevate your ensemble with a Zkin multi-function photo bag. Made out of strong canvas with strong nylon stitching, Zkin is an important, functional and smart design solution for carrying delicate pieces of equipment like lenses, tablets, filters.
Porter International, a classic Japanese company - focused on craftsmanship and quality but also with a long history. Yoshida have been making bags & accessories for over five decades. Yoshida’s huge range of wallets, bags, and backpacks were embraced by young people in Japan during the 1980s and they are now using their Porter brand to build their global reach.
An area of very successful collaboration has been the production of high-end camera cases, working with well-known Japanese architects and photographers to design to the highest specifications. Simple, stylish & desirable. These pieces come with a considerable price tag but they are the kind of quality items that are long-term investment pieces.
Seventy Eight Percent is the kind of brand that has such clever design ideas that you feel like you want to buy everything that you see. Their bags and accessories seamlessly combine function and beauty. Mixing leather and canvas to create their products, their pieces are real style statements.
The secret behind these emerging brands from the Far East is that they share the same qualities with the world’s most successful brands - they are innovative, they use quality materials, they are established businesses with local roots & heritage products, there is an authenticity to the design, and they have international aspirations. The world of fashion is about to get a whole lot more interesting.Date: 19/07/14