Four years after withdrawing from the Japanese market in 2019, the fast-fashion brand Forever 21 is making a big return with some unexpected changes.
Best known for selling trendy and low-priced clothing for teens, the U.S. fashion label is rebranding itself into an upscale retailer for the Japanese launch. Third-largest Japanese retail company Adastria will be taking Forever 21 under its wing and will be in charge of product planning, sales and product development.
Adastria has many points to address for the future success of Forever 21 on the Japanese market. The teen-worthy crop tops and denim shorts that the brand is best known for will mostly give way to items tailored to the Japanese fashion market, hoping to broaden the target demographic from teens and tweens to women up to their 30s.
Although well-known Forever 21 clothing items won’t be scrapped completely, 80% of its products will be Japan-only items created to suit the tastes of Japanese consumers.
Compared to the previously available Forever 21 products, which ranged from 800 to 1,000 items, Adastria is also lowering the number of available pieces to between 120 and 150 in an attempt to focus on the higher quality and durability of products.
However, this will also come at a slightly higher price point than other fast-fashion retail brands in Japan such as GU and Uniqlo.
Adastria’s target is to open 12 physical stores in Japan within the next five years and achieve $74 million in revenue, with the expectation that 60% of sales would be through eCommerce. The aim is to create a long-lasting brand that customers can already identify with due to its existing popularity.
“We want Forever 21 to combine quality and affordability,” said Adastria’s creative director Gentaro Noda.
Japan’s new edition of Forever 21 launched online and in a pop-up store in Tokyo this Tuesday. The first permanent Forever 21 store is scheduled to open in Osaka in April. The relaunching will also be overseen by Japanese trading firm Itochu which bought the commercial rights to Forever 21 in September.