When YKK first established its London Showroom last year, the company’s intentions were simple: establish direct contact with customers. It may seem a straightforward idea but, in fact, the Commercial Street location is the first of its kind in the world and a cultural hotspot in its own right. Ever-changing exhibitions spotlighting young design talent are commonplace; the showroom is currently hosting an exhibition – which runs until February 18th – of footwear by Masaya Kushino, whose ethereal designs incorporate textiles including lace, leather and feathers.
“(The YKK London) Showroom has exceeded our expectations in its first year,” says showroom manager Sabine Bourgeau. “But I was not surprised at all, because London’s market in particular needed direct and immediate access to our high range of innovative items.”
The items in question are the company’s world-famous fastenings; the Japanese company has developed a strong reputation for high quality and has since become the world’s largest zipper manufacturer. “The very established and well-known YKK brand needed a new face,” Bourgeau continues. “Now, not only can the fashion industry access YKK’s products more easily, but YKK can also react more directly to its needs.”
“Now, not only can the fashion industry access YKK’s products more easily, but YKK can also react more directly to its needs” – Sabine Bourgeau, showroom manager
By moving with the times and adapting its brand identity to the demands of today’s notoriously fast-paced industry, YKK has managed to set itself apart by introducing a human element to its working process. Students and professionals are welcome to come in, browse products and even to attend fastenings workshops. In fact, a host of designers rely upon the company to provide the finishing touches to their collections; Martina Spetlova is just one example, a recent Central Saint Martins graduate who creates experimental silhouettes out of hand-woven leather.
This interactive approach to designer relations is key to the Japanese company’s working process; as is an unwavering support of emerging design talent. Aside from the €10,000 YKK Award given out annually at ITS (International Talent Support), a talent contest held in Trieste, the company supports designers by using its showroom window display into as a platform for independent designers. Redesigned on a monthly basis, the display is just one tool provided by YKK to ensure the exposure and experience of bright young minds. By establishing its London Showroom, YKK has taken a brand identity steeped in history and brought it firmly into the present day.
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