Have designer tastes but not a designer budget? No worries — Japan comes to your rescue once again! As one of the largest markets for luxury goods, world-renowned designers eager to build a brand base in Japan — and what could be a better way to introduce your product to them by giving them away for free?
Yes, free! As furoku or inserts in major fashion magazines and catalogues. Small designer items — all genuine, such as handbags, handkerchiefs, compact mirrors, or hair accessories are given as gifts with every purchase of a particular magazine (usually the Spring edition) or a brand’s catalogue (YSL, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Jill Stewart, BAPE, etc.).
These magazines can be bought off major book stores such as Kinokuniya, including their SEA stores in Singapore and Bangkok. I scored my favorite bag from the Orchard Road branch in particular: a black tote embroidered with the YSL logo (SGD 29 or PhP 900). I also have another black tote stamped with an ALICE & THE PIRATES logo (SGD 39 or PhP 1200) from a shop in The Cathay. Both were very nice and very well-made, not like many freebies given out with local magazines.
So if you’re in the mood for designer swag but don’t have a trust fund to back it up, then Japan’s fixation with furoku will set you up nicely.