Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo high fashion concept store Dover Street Market to open on Singapore’s Dempsey Road

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Dover Street Market, an edgy fashion retail and concept store conceived by Comme des GarçonsRei Kawakubo, will be opening its first Singapore outlet in Dempsey.

Kawakubo’s conceptual multi-brand retail outlet will be setting up shop in the near future as COMO Lifestyle recently purchased two blocks from the Singapore Land Authority and Singapore Tourism Board. Based on the plan laid out in COMO’s bid for the location, the DSM outpost will be incorporated alongside a bevy of food and beverage establishments as a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant and bar, local Peranakan restaurant Candlenut and new COMO Cuisine concept will all be located on the site.

A timetable for an opening is currently unknown so stay tuned for further details as they become available.

Uniqlo to offer four-day work week to working mothers

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RocketNews 24:

It’s hard being a working mom, juggling the important yet difficult goals of providing both the financial and emotional support children need. But while having to look for a new job because of incompatible work and family demands is never pleasant, it’s still a more viable option than finding new kids, as clothing retailer Uniqlo knows all too well.

The company has been having trouble retaining female employees with children, with many citing the need for more flexibility in their work schedule as their reason for leaving the company. In response, Uniqlo has announced that this autumn it will be offering full-time employees the option of a four-day work week.

From its humble beginnings as a low-key provider of plain yet affordable clothing, Uniqlo has become one Japan’s highest-profile companies. It’s developed its own sense of style, and has been actively expanding to other countries.

As the company grows, though, it’s also reexamining how it does business, and its human resources department has come up with a plan to help make Uniqlo a more accommodating place for its female employees to work. In order to help its working mothers structure their lives in a way that helps them care for their children, the company will introduce a system in which full-time employees can opt for a four-day workweek instead of a five-day one.

Employees on the four-day system won’t see their total work hours change, as they’ll work 10-hour shifts instead of the eight-hour stretches of the five-day schedule. Their base pay will also remain unchanged.

But even if the total hours worked are the same, having a third day off every week means one less day of arranging for daycare service for children, as well as shuttling them to and from the facility. It’s also one less day of commuting, which would be a major time savings for people working in urban Japan, where a one-way trip to work of 60 minutes or more isn’t at all unusual.

The four-day schedule will be offered to a total of 10,000 store employees, or roughly one fifth of Uniqlo’s total workforce. While the system is primarily aimed at female employees, apparently some men will also be given the choice between the four and five-day format.

Uniqlo plans to introduce the four-day workweek option this October.

the POOL aoyama (Japan) x ION Audio Portable Turntable

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s concept store the POOL aoyama has collaborated with US-based electronics company ION Audio to present this stylish portable turntable device. Equipped with a built-in speaker for playback, iPad compatibility and a pitch control function, the small device is the perfect alternative to bulky home stereo set-ups.

Fujiwara, who recently opened a Tokyo-based pop-up store for the POOL aoyama, completes the device with stylish, all-black and minimalist packaging. Pick up the Pool aoyama x ION Audio Portable Turntable for around $212 USD if you’re in Japan or online here.

the POOL shinjuku
1/F Isetan Shinjuku
3-14-1 Shinjuku
Tokyo 160-0022
Japan

the POOL aoyama (Japan) Limited Edition “MY OWN POOL TEE”

Sophia Chang and Ja Tecson team up for Feels Like Home Pop-Up Shop

Wu-Tang Clan x the POOL aoyama (Tokyo) Collection

Hiroshi Fujiwara to open the POOL shinjuku

Just over a year after unveiling his POOL concept retail door in Aoyama, Hiroshi Fujiwara is preparing to extend the franchise with a new location in Shinjuku. Over the course of its existence, the POOL aoyama did well to set a precedent of innovation and excellence, creating truly rare installation experiences such as a White Mountaineering collaborative pop-up and vintage streetwear trunk show.

Perhaps in the temporary spirit of the store though, Fujiwara recently announced that the store will shutter its doors in April 2016. The announcement of the POOL shinjuku, then, represents the second phase of the idea, although for a much shorter period. Running from June 17 through June 22, the Shinjuku location will be located in the heart of Tokyo at the Shinjuku Store Main Building.

Be sure to check back here for a look inside the store as we near the launch date.

Uniqlo (Japan) 2015 Fall/Winter Lookbook

How two penniless Korean immigrants launched an apparel empire now worth billions

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Next Shark:

This is a story of success. This is the unbelievable rags-to-riches story of how Do Won “Don” Chang and his wife, Jin Sook, immigrated from Korea to California with nearly nothing, how Chang had to hold down three demeaning jobs at the same time to support his family, and how they opened up their first fashion-forward store, which, three decades later, has become a coveted international brand with 600 stores in the U.S. and overseas bringing in around $4.4 billion in sales each year.

That company is Forever 21, the No. 1 brand favored by millennial “it girls,” beating out heavy hitters such as Sephora and H&M in a recent Teen Vogue-Goldman Sachs poll.

From Rags to Riches

Chang, 57, and Sook, 53, moved to the states from Korea in 1981. Chang worked as a gas station attendant, janitor and coffee shop waiter to make ends meet. According to a Business Insider profile on the dynamic duo, they were broke, had no college degrees and spoke broken English. They had planned to go into the coffee business until Chang noticed something that would change their lives. Chang, in a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, said:

“I noticed the people who drove the nicest cars were all in the garment business.”

They had only been settled in the Los Angeles area for three years before that observation became a reality. In 1984, the Changs decided to open their first clothing store, which they called “Fashion 21,” in a 900-square-foot space in Highland Park, which is about five minutes north of downtown Los Angeles. They took in a measly $35,000 upon opening, but sales jumped to $700,000 by the end of their first year. That success led Chang to go out on a strategic limb by opening up new stores every six months in different locations across the U.S. and renaming their chain “Forever 21.”

Somehow the husband-and-wife team found more success with each opening. Today, there are over 600 stores worldwide that employ more than 34,000 workers. The Chang’s personal net worth is estimated to be around $6.1 billion. That high net worth is perhaps due to the fact that the Changs own 100% of Forever 21.

The chain remains a family business, with Chang holding the CEO position while Jin Sook approves the company’s merchandise designs as chief merchandising officer. Daughter Esther manages the company’s visuals while daughter Linda is in charge of marketing.

Forever 21’s Recipe for Success

koreanWhy is Forever 21 so successful? The company keeps prices low. It lives up to its motto, “Shop Chic Styles for Less,” by continually updating its merchandise to remain fashion forward. As Chang put it:

“We keep changing. We are always thinking about [the] customer, not just for the company. That’s why we are successful.”

It’s hard to pull off, but Forever 21 has remained relevant and popular in a fickle environment where trends quickly go out of fashion, often just after they’ve taken off. Chang adds:

“Women’s fashion is very difficult because it is changing everyday. Fashion changes so fast, so time is the most important thing. If you are too late, you are too late. If you are too early, you are too early. So timing is very important.”

So is being grateful. Chang might be a billionaire now, but he’s always been grounded and aware of how he got here, as well as where he came from. He told the LA Times:

“Forever 21 gives hope to people who come here with almost nothing. And that is a reward that humbles me: the fact that immigrants coming to America, much like I did, can come into a Forever 21 and know that all of this was started by a simple Korean immigrant with a dream.”

COMME des GARÇONS (Japan) Tote Bag

COMME des GARÇON has re-released its signature tote bag after selling out of all stock at the start of 2015. Made of PVC, the tote has the appearance of a paper bag and is upholstered on the inside for additional reinforcement. The bag’s charm intensifies the more it is worn, as the PVC creases like a real paper bag.

Able to brave all sorts of weather, it is set to retail for $60 USD and will be available from the Dover Street Market in Ginza as well as select stockists online.