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Comme des Garçons | Success Story of the Japanese Fashion Label



Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons is one of the most prominent fashion brands worldwide. The label is headquartered in Tokyo and Paris and provides its customers with premium quality apparel, bags, footwear, and fragrances. Rei Kawakubo founded the brand in 1969 in Tokyo, Japan. The company’s garments are mainly produced in France, Japan, Spain, and Turkey. Comme des Garçons creates eccentric and high-quality clothing. It is famous for its unique, elegant, and bold approach to fashion style. Comme des Garçons has become one of the most sought-after luxury labels in the last decade.


Comme des Garçons is an iconic Japanese fashion label with stores all around the globe. Founded in 1969, the brand received heavy criticism from French critics due to its unconventional design. However, by the late 1970s, Comme des Garçons succeeded in becoming a household name. The brand has collaborated with top brands like Nike, Vans, Converse, and Supreme. Many A-list celebrities like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kanye West, Selena Gomez, Kylie Minogue, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Victoria Beckham have endorsed the brand. 


On the 11th of October 1942, Rei Kawakubo was born in Tokyo, Japan. Her father worked as an administrator at the prestigious Keio University. In contrast, Rei’s mother was an English teacher. Rei’s parents got divorced while she was still young. She has two younger brothers. Rei had a comfortable upbringing despite her parents’ divorce. Her mother used to make all clothes for her. To study fine arts, Rei enrolled at her father’s university in 1960. Later, in 1964, she graduated with a degree in the history of aesthetics. At age 22, Rei decided to leave her house and move into a shared apartment. She did not tell her parents where she was going. Young Rei liked the Bohemian lifestyle. However, she was not never into drugs. 

Rei Kawakubo had contradictory ambitions. On the one hand, she liked traditional and historical things; on the other hand, she wanted to break the rules. But Rei was confident that she wanted to do something unique. She had not decided on pursuing fashion as a career. It was during the mid-60s that her passion for styling grew. 22-year-old Rei wanted to be self-sufficient. As a result, she started working in the advertising department of a textile company. At the office, she refused to wear the standard office girl uniform. Her boss was supportive of her creative ambitions. He also allowed her to voice her opinions on props and costumes for photoshoots. At the time, these things were unusual in Japanese culture. By 1967, Rei started working as a freelance stylist. 

Establishment of Comme des Garçons

After working as a freelance stylist for two years, Rei Kawakubo decided to establish her fashion label. In 1969, she began designing and making clothes under the label Comme des Garçons. The brand name means “like boys.” Through the income from the styling business, Rei financed her fashion brand. She rented a graphic arts studio in Tokyo and hired a few assistants. Initially, Rei started Comme des Garçons as a denim-heavy brand. The brand’s designs gained recognition across the city. By the early 1970s, Rei’s label flourished, and she incorporated it. In 1975, the brand unveiled its first collection in Tokyo. A year later, Rei collaborated with architect Takao Kawasaki to open the first Comme des Garçons store. The shop had a unique concept. It had no mirrors. Rei wanted women to pick clothes they felt comfortable wearing. She did not want them to focus on how they looked. 

Evolution during 1980-2000

During the 1970s, the brand started gaining recognition across Japan. In 1978, Rei added a menswear line to the Comme des Garçons collection. In 1981, the brand made its debut in Paris with a fashion show. Despite its popularity in Japanese culture, the label failed to impress French fashion enthusiasts. Rei had presented a line with a monochrome palette and distressed oversized fabrics. The critics called it “uncompromisingly severe.” However, Rei continued to design unique and eloquent clothing. During the 1980s, the label’s popularity in the western media grew. Many people started wearing the brand’s clothes and labeled them “interesting.” In 1987, Rei launched “Noir,” a black-dominated womenswear line. The fashion world was left astonished. The French critics labeled it as “Hiroshima chic.” But again, the brand’s fans hailed it. Comme des Garçons continued to wow the fashion world during the 1990s with distinctive designs.

Wider Recognition

During the 2000s, Comme des Garçons ventured into the world of accessories. In 2002, the brand launched the product line “Play.” It became one of the company’s most popular and mainstream fashion lines. “Play” achieved worldwide recognition due to its simple designs and eye-catching logo. In the last decade, the Play line became the brand’s most likable and prominent fashion line. Play’s logo consisted of a cartoon heart with big eyes. Moreover, it was affordable and accessible. As of 2022, Comme des Garçons has signature boutiques in London, Paris, New York, Beijing, Seoul, and many other cities across the globe. Everyone loves the brand’s unique and eloquent style approach, from A-list celebrities to ordinary people.

Also read: Burberry | Success Story of the Illustrious Fashion House

Who founded Comme des Garçons?

Rei Kawakubo founded Comme des Garçons in 1969 in Tokyo, Japan. Initially, it started as a denim-heavy brand. Within a few years of establishment, the brand gained recognition across Tokyo and incorporated itself in 1973.

What is the net worth of Comme des Garçons?

Comme des Garçons’ net worth is estimated to be $320 million. It is one of the most prominent luxury brands globally. It sells a wide range of menswear, womenswear, kidswear, fragrances, sneakers, bags, wallets, and other accessories.

Who is the CEO of Comme des Garçons?

Adrian Joffe is the CEO of Comme des Garçons. He also serves as the brand’s president. Under Adrian’s leadership, the company gained wider recognition and also launched the product line “Play.”

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