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Trends in Japan > Fashion > Targeting The “Around 30” Market
Arasa Women Favor Luxury and Elegance
(December 3, 2007)

An example of an outfit popular with arasa women. (C)Le souk prix d'or / FLANDRE


The front cover of GISELe's first issue. (C)SHUFUNOTOMOSHA

Brands and boutiques targeting the arasa market of women around 30 years old are a growing presence in the fashion market. A number of shopping malls catering to this demographic have been launched, including Yurakucho Marui and Marronnier Gate, both of which opened with fanfare this fall in the Yurakucho and Ginza districts of Tokyo. Fashion brands aimed at these women have also been opening outlets in redesigned department stores, while new types of boutiques are being started with a focus on women around thirty - a generation somewhat older than so-called young adults.

Features of the Arasa Brands
Arasa is short for araundo sati, the Japanese pronunciation of "around thirty." It refers to women who were born roughly between the years 1975 and 1979 and are currently around 30 years old. The term is said to have been first used by GISELe, GLITTER, and the flurry of other magazines geared for women of this generation that have appeared since 2000, and nowadays it has gained currency in the consumer electronics and lifestyle industries, as well as in the fashion industry.

Brands targeting arasa women can be classified into otona-gyaru ("grown-up gal") brands characterized by a mature sexiness, which developed from the brands featured in the Shibuya 109 shopping mall devoted to young women; brands that give a mature and elegant twist to cute, ladylike styles; and brands originally designed by "select shops" (independent boutiques) that have a more modish and haute couture feel.

While retaining a sense of trend-conscious youth, leading brands in this segment of the market seek to inspire luxury and quality by using higher-grade materials and finer sewing. Moreover, many manufacturers are developing upgraded lines of brands that have been popular with arasa women since their teenage days, often topping the original brand names with prefixes like "more" and "plus" to convey the image of superior quality. BE RADIANCE, for instance, is a line focusing on the theme "radiant women" that branched out from CECIL McBEE, a favorite among Shibuya gals, while Le souk prix d'or is a variation of the Le souk brand popular with young career women.


Arasa women choose elegant fashions. (C)Le souk prix d'or / FLANDRE

A Fashion-Conscious Generation
Women around 30 years old spent their high school days in the 1990s enjoying such new fashions as "loose socks" worn with school uniforms, chapatsu (hair dyed or bleached brown), and thick-soled sandals. They are well-versed in brand-name clothes, cosmetics, and other products. They also constitute a generation that has been skilled in communication through such devices as pagers and mobile phones and has been sensitive to new styles and trends from a young age.

While the declining birthrate is shrinking youth markets, arasa women remain highly sensitive to fashion trends and are said to have a strong consumer appetite. They have come to present an important customer base for diverse industries.

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