Considered to be one of Japan’s best “feminine mode” fashion labels, Murua has an almost cult following among Tokyo fashionistas who want to look girly but not too sugary-sweet; feminine but edgy is the best way to describe the brand.
Until March 10, 2013, you’ll be able to snap up some of the brand’s cute dresses, logo tees, printed skinny jeans, cute bags and funky platform heels at the Hello, Tokyo Shibuya pop-up shopping event at Plaza Singapura.
Launched in 2006 by chief creative officer and main designer Momoko Ogihara, Murua is in many ways very much like its creator – elegant but sexy, feminine but on-trend, perfectly put-together but with a funky touch.
Momoko-San started her fashion career as a buyer for some of Tokyo’s most popular fashion stores and despite looking about 20 years old, has been working in the Japanese fashion industry for over 10 years. Her designs, therefore, are always perfectly on-trend as she grabs the fashionable zeitgeist.
Thanks to the team from Parco Japan, the organisers of the Hello, Shibuya Tokyo event, we managed to catch Momoko-San in-between meetings about her next collection and a shoot for a magazine; she’s the perfect advertisement for her brand and totally looks like a model.
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE BRAND MURUA?
I originally started working in fashion buying as a sales staff, I started out planning what sort of products were needed for various stores and discovered there was a gap in the market for clothes and other fashion items catering to women who had their own sense of strength and personality.
The brand is for strong women who still have a “feminine style” and who want to be “in mode” [on-trend]. So we created the brand, but also added something about “mystery” – a woman with a mysterious personality – in the initial stages of the brand development.
The shapes [of the clothes] are classic but with a fun, funky edge. Some of our customers wear the entire look as it’s styled; others choose different pieces to wear with other things in their wardrobe.
IS THERE SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOUR BRAND PARTICULARLY ‘JAPANESE’ OR IS IT A MORE GLOBAL BRAND?
Is it capable of being a global brand? Yes, definitely we’d like to access the global market. We’ve already got three directly managed stores in China; in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing; and we have one store in Hawaii.
China is a big market; at our Chinese operation – we have an office in China – we actually make products for the two markets [Japan and China] … it’s not very different, but Chinese people look for more “statement” pieces for example; they like the stronger pieces.
Going forward we would like to centre the brand in Asia – for example for the Southeast Asia market in Singapore. We’re very interested in knowing more about the market in Singapore; and we’d like to expand outwards from there.
Our first store opened in Shanghai over a year ago – and since then we’ve started to see the picture ahead; looking overseas is an important part of growing our business in the future.
WHAT WILL YOU BE SHOWING SINGAPORE SHOPPERS?
We’ll be taking most of the Spring Summer 2013 collection to Singapore, not everything due to the sheer number of items we produce each season – but we’ll take what we think will suit Singapore shoppers.
We think that the majority of customers will be quite young – they’ll be looking for something functional but with a particular edge. Even though we’re from Japan and many people already know a lot about Japanese fashion styles, we want people to think that we’re something new.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DESIGNING THE COLLECTION?
I start with a particular idea – the inspiration can come from anywhere – for this collection the main inspiration was “futuristic movement” and the sea.
The bubbles [large, transparent plastic balls are hung around the display area and have been used in the season’s advertising; see the images in the gallery below] are an image from the visual merchandising team but the ideas for the clothes came from the idea of bubbles from the ocean or space – hard bubbles, holding in air? – as well as mermaids [from the ocean] which you can see in the shine [of the fabrics used] and the use of large paillettes.
I source the fabrics from various shops and textile exhibitions, I collect the samples and then pick the ones I want to use; sometimes if I can’t find something to match an idea I’ll get the fabric specially made.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE INTEREST OF THE WESTERN FASHION INDUSTY IN ASIAN DESIGNERS / ASIAN INFLUENCES? IE. SS13 COLLECTIONS – PRADA / GUCCI ETC
They only seem to look at certain, traditional aspects of Japanese or Asian culture … I don’t know why exactly but I think that in the past that it was more obviously different so it stood out more.
The Murua Spring Summer 2013 collection is available at the Hello, Shibuya Tokyo Fashion & Culture Mix Show with Singapore pop-up shopping event that will run until March 10, 2013, at the Main Atrium, Level 1, Plaza Singapura daily from 11am to 9.30pm and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information about Murua, go to murua.co.jp. For more information about Hello, Shibuya Tokyo, go www.helloshibuyatokyo.jp or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/helloshibuyatokyo.