As far as digital efforts in the fashion industry goes, there is an unfortunate lack of innovation in Japan. Even the more enthusiastic brands have only gone as far as releasing dedicated mobile apps for customer loyalty. But I recently stumbled upon a Tokyo-based company called Ceno which might be an exception to the digitally challenged status quo in the fashion industry.
Ceno operates seven different lines of clothing, with one of the most famous brand being Vanquish. Its main customers are men in their early twenties, but the brand has managed to even attract teenagers and men in their forties. Vanquish received a lot of attention recently for an in-store collaborative project called Vanquish Venus, created in cooperation with Team Lab, a local organization famous for their digital creativity. Vanquish installed something called ‘TeamLabHanger’ at their stores, and when an item on a hanger is removed from the rack, it triggers video and audio on a screen overhead.
The idea here was to bring in customers who would normally just walk past the Vanquish store, and for those already inside it would show them different ways to coordinating clothes. The project recruited famous female artists and celebrities to model in the videos, and it currently features Chiaki Ito from the popular pop group AAA. To keep things fresh, videos are renewed every two months with different models.
But perhaps the most notable model of all was virtual star Hatsune Miku (see video below), who attracted not-so-fashion-savvy netizens to the Vanquish brand, thus expanding its fan base a little beyond who the audience they normally sell to. Ceno even ended up creating an orginal Vanquish song by Hatsune Miku under the supervision of music label Karent.
There are also manga camera machines installed at three Vanquish stores (pictured above), including the Shibuya and Ikebukuro locations. These original purikura machines convert photos into unique manga-like images, which are then uploaded to the Vanquish Facebook page. The customers are then brought to the Facebook page where the company hopes they will click the ‘Like’ button .
Ceno has already expanded to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China, and even Australia. Its next project is the launch of a Vanquish ecommerce site for BangKok, scheduled for this April. The brand is pretty well received by consumers around Asia, as the pricing is not too expensive. After going through different vendors to reach overseas markets, many Japanese brands end up being high-priced luxury brands (whether they want to or not). Ceno has partnered directly with different vendors in locals market to ensure this doesn’t happen.
The company has also started another brand called Gonoturn which sells unique hats and facial masks that mimic cute animals. It looks like a fun company too, as you can see below. Here the employees are pulling off another Harlem Shake video while wearing their own products.