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The Kimono State of Address (Ichiroya's Kimono Depression Letter)

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The Kimono State of Address (Ichiroya's Kimono Depression Letter)

Post  AnaIkimaru on Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:22 pm

Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.309.
It is still hot, but in the evening, we can hear the chirping sound of autumn insects slightly. Autumn seems to be at the corner here in Japan.

It remains only seven days till the Lower House elections. The emphatic victory of the opposition Democratic Party seems to be sure. We Japanese feel sense of stagnation, and people want to have a 'change'.

Especially we hope economic will recover soon. This business depression strongly result in adverse effect to kimono market. Similar to the department stores in US, Japanese department stores are also suffered from drop in sales. Every month, their sales drop approx 10 - 15% less
compared to the previous fiscal year. Japanese department store sell various kinds of items from food, interior items, fashion to jewelry and kimonos. Especially sales of jewelry and kimono drops dramatically, and it seems to be approx 20%.

Before this depression, kimono market reduced incredibly already. In these several years, all kimono sales in Japan (retail base) dropped about 10% a year, and sales amount in 2008 was about 4 billion dollars. Do you know UNICLO? UNICLO is the very popular basic fashion stores, and their popularity becomes stronger in the depression, because their prices are way competitive compared to other stores. The sales of them(2008) is approx 6 million dollars All retail sales of kimono is less than the sales of a company!
In this 2009, situation must become worse than 2008.

Because of the long time rapid scale-down of the kimono market, dealer stock seems to pile up. However, of course, artisans and kimono makers must make new kimono to get profit, so the dealer stock doesn't reduce.
There are two strong pressures to cutprices. The huge amount of the stock, and saving mind of customers. Cutting the price of the long term stock is comparatively easy, and if the prices become the normal prices, newly made kimono must be put similar prices - such prices must not be enough to earn the minimum money to support artisans' lives.

Of course, kimono makers are trying to make something fresh items, and trend (design and technique) is slightly changed every year. However, such change is slight as much as we kimono dealers can notice, but it is difficult to be noticed by usual people. It is because, as you must notice, basically kimono is TRADITIONAL cloth.

Another survival way for kimono makers is, (it sounds strange for you ) making kimonos in China or other Asian countries. Already most silk of kimono are from China now, most embroidery work is done in Soshu (China).

Our younger daughter likes kimono, and after she graduates the university next April, she will be employed by a major kimono retail company. Here in Japan, because of depression, getting a permanent job is very difficult, and we were very worried about her. Till now, she didn't have enough pride of herself, but she tried to hit the pavement hard and thoughtfully as she could, and get the job among about 100 candidates.
How happy she looked when she show us the ticket to Tokyo sent from the company to attend the meeting for the newly employed students!
We congratulated her, and greatly felt relief to she is feeling pride of herself.

Such kimono retail company, her work must be hard. She must sell lots amount of kimono as much as she can, and we are worried the goal of the sales must be way high than possible sales amount in the depression. Considering the above situation, her kimono retail company also may be in the stern situation, and may impose their staff too laboring work.

Now we are saying her, 'Not too hustle. I saw many people hustles too much and broke their health. Health is the most important, and come back home any time you want.'

We strongly hope everything will change, and economics will recover soon for happiness of everybody.
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