After graduating from high school, she went to England. Funayama returned to Japan and enrolled at the Esmod Japan Tokyo and graduated in 2010.
After experiencing few collection brands, Funayama started her own label Fetico in 2020. She won “JFW NEXT BRAND AWARD 2023” and ”TOKYO FASHION AWARD” in 2022.
[ Website ] https://fetico.jp/
[ Instagram ] https://www.instagram.com/fetico_official/?hl=ja
Participating in Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO for the first time in the 2023 S/S season, afterwards being awarded the TOKYO FASHION AWARD thereby participating in the showroom at Paris, and presenting their very first overseas show at Hong Kong, FETICO is leading the women’s market as a spirited, energetic brand. We spoke to their designer, Ms. Funayama, on the current state of this brand who is expected to flourish even further.
It has been a year since we last interviewed you in August 2022, when you were preparing for the brand’s very first runway show. We are excited to see how successful you have been since then, but could you please tell us your current business situation.
We have tied a contract with a total of 38 accounts, national and international combined. Compared to a year ago, the number of accounts have increased, but at this point, most of the shops we had hoped to carry our items in already are, so from here on, rather than actively increasing the number of accounts, we are hoping to deepen our relationships with existing accounts.
How are your overseas developments?
With regards to overseas, in the 24 S/S season, we tied contracts with 3 accounts, in Los Angeles, South Korea, China. The number of accounts have been going up and down, so we are not yet at a stage of seeing dramatic growth. Thanks to the support from TOKYO FASHION AWARD (hereinafter indicated as TFA), we have participated in the Paris showroom twice, but I feel we are still at a stage of researching overseas markets and contemplating how to develop. During the 24 S/S showroom, which was the second time for us to participate in, we also exhibited in a showroom operated by a Japanese sales team, other than TFA. Participating in showrooms enables us to have our collection seen, but it also became painfully obvious that in order to have buyers visit the venue with the will to buy, prior laying of groundwork and communication is extremely important.
In your quest for overseas market developments, how was the response?
In my opinion, I think Japanese-like voluptuousness is the characteristic of FETICO, but from overseas, this seems to be seen as a powerful identity of the brand, which makes it highly unique. Furthermore, we are highly praised for our high quality. Even at the stage of seeing samples, many people often complimented us on how high our quality is. As for items, in South Korean shops, they mainly choose pieces with a casual outlook which can be worn daily, such as denims, whereas in Los Angeles where exposed styles are common, pieces such as bodysuits which are base only, and highly transparent pieces were purchased. It was interesting to see how aspects in demand differ depending upon area.
In expanding your transactions with overseas markets in the future, what sort of things are you considering?
As in Japan, the directionality of the brand is not one that appeals to the mass but rather, to niche markets, so we are considering developing with a narrow target. Size wise, Asian regions are easier to attack, but we are receiving favorable praise from middle eastern regions also, so we need to reconsider our size range. Rather than difference in area, we feel ours is a brand that appeals to individual preference, so above all, I think it is important to first raise our level of acknowledgement.
What sort of item are presently favored domestically?
Bodysuits and inners are also popular, but our knit pieces have firm popularity. The fact that our body conscious items are highly elastic allowing for people of all sorts of body shapes to wear them seem to be favored, along with people feeling a freshness, newness in our never seen before knits, and/or use of threads. Such aspects seem to be connecting into popularity.
Are you feeling an expansion in a body-conscious-oriented market?
Rather than the market itself expanding, it is my understanding that there is a demand for this zone among people of high sensitivity groups. The brand’s main customer segment consists of people in their mid-30’s, but I feel it is expanding to people of older generations.
Have there been any changes in creation aspects this past year?
Up to the 23 A/W season, in price and design aspects, I often considered MD or business aspects, which, at times, acted as a hindrance, but ever since I became conscious of overseas developments, I’ve decided to once remove my MD-oriented filter, in order to create a collection breaking free from all hindrances, filled with creativity to my heart’s content. Through this, the scope of items have expanded, and it has allowed me to deepen my creations. In proof of this being a positive factor in my creative activities, the lace-slip dress I created without being overly conscious of daily life, received high praise at Paris as an eye-catching item.
You have been participating in Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO consecutively, presenting a show 3 times. Do you intend to continue presenting shows here on?
Shows are effective in raising levels of acknowledgement, along with bring about new transactions with buyers who newly purchase our items after a show, and our customers look forward to it, so I intend to continue as long as the timing fits my schedule. I am also interested in presenting an installation overseas!
Please tell us about your future aspirations for the brand.
Because we’ve grown so rapidly, I am thinking the difficulty will be in keeping this position, and it is my wish to continue the brand steadily. I hope to continue evolving so that we may continue presenting a collection which our fans will continue to want, be happy about, every season. We have a goal of expanding our overseas sales, so for research and to gain inspiration, I am hoping to visit all sorts of countries to see and gain insight with my own eyes.
Is there anything you would like to challenge as a designer?
I have a goal of creating our own shop where customers can experience the brand in totality, including the space. I would also like to challenge myself in categories such as inners and room wear, in which I am having difficulty finding things I want.
Interview by Tomoko Kawasaki
Photography by Daichi Saito