Abstract: Licensing, Branding, and Cooperation in the Japanese and Chinese Fashion Industry

Sabine Ichikawa


While a worldwide fashion economy is developing and a multi-centered fashion creation has emerged, we have chosen to study one of the most dynamic non-western fashion centers, Japan and China. China'fs fashion business went through an astounding transformation from an apparel and clothing producerh, a fashion consumer market and a fashion brand producer. This transformation took place only over a thirty-year period, regulated by various reforms as well as under external influences and transfers. Hong Kong and Japan, with their geographic and cultural proximity, have played a specific role. In that perspective, we chose to present and compare three turning points of the Japanese and Chinese fashion industries (including Hong Kong). One common characteristic of the two fashion systems is the use of licensing agreements signed with the West, one of the leading transfer techniques which contributed to a large extent to the development of apparel companies' brand management expertise. The second point is the decision process that led three major capitals (Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai) to take measures to grasp international recognition. The last point is the emergence of regional cooperation, which is not only technology and business oriented, but has become a means of enhancing an Asian identity.