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Japan’s fashion industry mirroring its economic state

The resurgence in Japan’s economy had reflected in its fashion industry’s bright red lipstick. With the Abenomics losing its luster, lip gloss shades are increasingly turning dull. Here’s a brief article in which Japan’s economic state is reflected in its fashion industry.

In the first year when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced his "Abenomics", the market had responded by being bullish, inflation took to its heels and exports surged. During the boom, Shiseido Co had introduced a-what-had-been perceived as a sexy new lip gloss that went to reflect the new found spirt and a sense of confidence in the Japanese economy.
However, of late lipstick shades are losing their lackluster lure over Japan’s short-lived economic recovery with the fashion industry’s hues turning to more somber colors as central bankers scratch their heads to figure out a way, after a yet another ineffectual splurge of printing their currency.
Recalling the booming era of the 1990s in which Shiseido's Lacquer Rouge 413 sporting a vibrant red color had graced most lips, the company said since then Japan’s economy has fallen into stagnation and has been struggling with deflation.
Since Japan’s economic growth trend is still a flat line and it leaning towards going negative with consumer spending decreasing for the fifth time in a five months period, the color is draining from Shiseido's lips.
Its sales are shifting towards hues such as Maquillage Dual Color Rouge 10, which is closer to natural Japanese lip color, and 800 yen cheaper than its hot red cousin.
Japan's hopes of a fading economic recovery is being reflected in the lips of its fashion industry.
"There were hopes in society that something good would happen when Prime Minister Abe's government started," said Reiko Ohno, spokeswoman for the Japan Fashion Color Association. "That timing matched the momentum when the fashion industry was trying to introduce colorful items."
She went on to add that since last year, optimism in the recovery of Japan’s economy has ebbed and this has reflected in Japan’s fashion industry opting for more dowdy beiges of grays and navy blues.
As per sources who are familiar with the matter at hand, the Bank of Japan is likely to cut Japan’s growth rate and price forecasts for the next financial year. The palette for 2017 could indeed be very dull.

Debashish Mukherjee

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