For our second featured look back at the year, we highlight the luxury brands cohort that came to Japan in a coordinated mission with our Secretary of State for Business & Trade, when she flew to Japan for the G7 Trade Ministers meeting in Osaka.
The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT)* accompanied a group of UK brands on a trade mission to Japan, alongside the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), the British Fashion Council and Walpole. The Japan trade mission in October 2023, led by the Secretary of State for Business & Trade, Kemi Badenoch, marked the first Secretary-led trade mission of its kind since 2017.
During the trip, the group were able to get a taste of the market conditions in Japan, and agining an understanding of the appetite for high-end products. As UKFT’s Director of International Business Paul Alger MBE, who has a long-standing relationship with the Japanese market, explains “Japan is a really important market for UK fashion and textiles, with a deep appreciation for quality, design and craftsmanship.”
The delegation met Japanese fashion buyers and showcase their luxurious textiles, hand-painted scarves, fine jewellery, leather goods and high-end fashion to industry players and high-profile Japanese influencers at the British Embassy in Tokyo.
In 2022, UK fashion goods exports to Japan totalled £134 million. It is hoped that the visit will foster an increase in exports of UK luxury brands to Japan, building on free trade deals such as the UK-Japan CEPA agreement and regional trade block, CPTPP. We will dive deeper into the Trade Minister’s G7 visit later on in this review of the year series, but for now more information on potential benefits to fashion and textile exporters under CPTPP can be found here.
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The group of luxury brands included:
- Anabela Chan: Anabela Chan is the first fine jewellery brand in the world to champion laboratory-grown gemstones and recycled metals.
- Christy & Co: Christy & Co Ltd has been manufacturing fine hats in England since 1773.
- Ettinger: Ettinger were granted the Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales in 1996, which is a seal of approval for quality and trust.
- Freya Rose: Freya Rose is renowned for her unique collections of sculptural, wearable works of art.
- Hemingsworth: Hemingsworth is renowned for its high-end ready-to-wear swimwear and leisurewear for men.
- Johnstons of Elgin: Luxury, high quality textiles made in Scotland.
- Rapport: Rapport craft accessories for preserving luxury watches and jewellery.
- Sabina Savage: Sabina is a British artist and print designer known for her exquisite, hand-rendered illustrations, printed on silk, wool and cashmere scarves.
- Swaine: The House of Swaine is the oldest name in luxury goods, serving the British Royal Family, nobility and gentry for hundreds of years.
* The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) is the largest network for fashion and textile companies in the UK. It bring together designers, manufacturers, suppliers, agents, educators and retailers to promote their businesses and our industry, both in the UK and throughout the world.