LN-CC, a high-end select shop which operates a shop in London and on-line shop with customers from around the globe. Curating a wide variety of selections, from big maison brands to up-and-coming young brands, based on their unique vision, it is a shop which movements are constantly gathering attention. Their Head Buyer, Mr. Reece Crisp, visited Japan during the Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO 2019 A/W term.
We interviewed Mr. Reece, whom is continuously digging up new talents from a global point of view and suggesting innovative fashion, on Japanese brands, Fashion Week TOKYO, and on LN-CC also.
This time you came to Japan by invitation from JETRO, and this is your 2nd time here, right? Compared to your last visit, do you feel any changes in the streets of Tokyo or people’s fashion?
First, I would like to thank JETRO for giving me this opportunity to come to Japan.
My last visit was in 2017, at which time, I was working at Farfetch, and came to Japan to visit “IFF Magic Japan” . I feel a difference in trend compared to 2 years ago, but the image that I have always had of Tokyo, of being the “pioneers of street fashion” , as represented by brands such as UNDERCOVER, COMME des GARCONS, sacai, has not changed largely. Whether I am in Tokyo or London, I always check Instagram to watch trends of the town and people. Depending upon the city, the information I wish to reach differs so there is a difference in how I filter, but I check Tokyo as a place to gain inspiration.
Please tell us the shops or spots you’ve been to during this visit.
I’ve visited many shops so I can’t mention them all, but a few of my favorite are Waremoko, GARDEN, and GR8. Every shop I visited was interesting, each in its own way, but I felt all the shops have a superb balance of domestic and international brands, and a good point of view in their selections. Their use of accessories is impressive, and I felt they are skillful in their presentation of functional products. I of course did some personal shopping (laugh). I bought a shoulder bag at Nanamica, and a pair of vintage Levi’s at BONUM.
What is your impression of your first Tokyo fashion week, in comparison to fashion weeks of other cities?
I felt Tokyo fashion week is mainly domestic brands and up-and-coming brands, making it a place to dig up new talents. I think it is closer to London fashion week rather than Paris, which all brands from around the world aim for, and is centered around big brands.
In this visit, you not only viewed shows, but also visited some ateliers. Were there any brands that caught your attention?
From the 2019 SS season, LN-CC has started carrying Children of discordance which I strongly feel as having an impressive strong aesthetic sense and vision. As a new brand, I also feel potential in ANEI, and I intend to keep my eye on them. I also liked ANREALAGE, KUON, and SYU.HOMME/FEMM.
Please tell us about LN-CC. You have a real shop in London, and your on-line store has fans from around the globe, right?
LN-CC places importance on story-telling and experience, and it is our aim to always be advanced, a place at which people can gain imagination. The items we carry are shown in 4 zones, namely “DESIGNER” , “CONTEMPORARY” , “CORE” , “CONSCIOUS” , curated by brand and/or item.
“DESIGNER” is a universal zone, consisting of big maisons such as GUCCI, PRADA, Thom Browne. “CONTEMPORARY” is the zone which the store focuses on mainly, consisting of brands with modern aesthetic sense and growth potential, such as Off-White and MARTINE ROSE. Sneakers are also in this zone. “CORE” is a zone which conveys the DNA of LN-CC, and “CONSCIOUS” is a zone of brands with a clean, minimal world view, such as JW Anderson and Acne Studios. Japanese brands such as Children of the discordance, which I’ve mentioned earlier, and my personal favorite, sulvam are presented in “CONSCIOUS” .
Both our London shop and on-line store are operated under the same concept, offering the same brands and items. We also offer books and music, which we select with specialized partners. Music is an especially important aspect, and we even have a small club within our shop!
Sounds like a very attractive shop. How is business these past few years?
Sales have been growing steadily, and we’ve enjoyed a 100% growth last fiscal year, compared to the previous year. The sales ratio of our real shop against our on-line shop is approximately 15% real shop, 85% on-line. As for per area sales shares, EU, Asia, US is approximately 30% each. In EU, our customers are mainly based in London, Paris, Berlin, in Asia mainly Tokyo and Seoul, in the US mainly N.Y. and L.A. There is a difference in which items are preferred depending upon area, but there is no correlation between sales area and buying area.
How are the Japanese brands carried by LN-CC doing? And please tell us the attractions of Japanese brands, if any.
LN-CC always carries around 120 – 130 brands, among which, 6 – 10 are changed every season. We presently carry approximately 10 Japanese brands, including sulvam, Yohji Yamamoto, PORTER, CLAMP. At the moment, it is mainly men’s brands, but we are also interested in women’s brands, such as HYKE and beautiful people. Unlike big maisons which stand firm on their ways, in Japanese brands, the border-line is vague in a good way, and I have the impression that they are willing to challenge new things, willing to go beyond conventional frameworks. While there are brands such as AURALEE with a clean, afternoon-like image, at the same time on the other hand, there are brands such as FACETASM with a dark, night-like image coexisting together, and I think this co-existence of a two-sidedness is very characteristic of the Japanese fashion scene. I have the impression that each Japanese brand has its own unique DNA and offers a wide range of expressions from their unique point of view. Furthermore, the quality of Japanese brands is high, and I feel they have a strong craftsmanship.
On the other hand, what do you think Japanese brands need to work on?
It is, of course a matter of balance between quality and craftsmanship, but because Japanese brands have strong particularities towards their products, it is true that their products are quite pricey, which is somewhat of a barrier in overseas markets. Another major problem is whether they can deliver within the delivery time demanded by EU markets. It is also important to find a good, trustworthy overseas partner or representative.
We would be very happy and honored if you could keep your eye on Japanese brands from hereon.
At LN-CC, I manage and oversee all buying activities, both men’s and women’s, including budgeting. In my position, people usually need to concentrate on the management side of things, but in our case, I am given the liberty to do buying directly depending upon the brand, and I wish to always maintain a position close to products. There are many brands in Tokyo which I am keeping an eye on, and I have many close friends starting with Teppei (Fujita) of sulvam, so I hope to come back to Japan again!
Interview by Tomoko Kawasaki
Translation by Aiko Osaki