Saturday, May 19, 2007
05-19-07 Have You Heard Of RESCUE SQUAD in Japan?
I'm in Tokyo. I've been staying for 10 days to have meetings, PureLime show and so on.
The next day I arrived in Tokyo, I visited ISI Corporation where I used to work.
ISI runs the conceptual store chain called RESCUE SQUAD - FIRE FIGHTERS
They actually opened their first store "FIRE FIGHTERS" at HARAJUKU, and it was the same year that the world famous "BATHING APE" & "UNDERCOVER" opened its first store "NOWHERE" on the same street, PROPELLER STREET in Harajyuku.
FIRE FIGHTERS became famous in the Japanese fashion market because of dealing with FDNY T-shirts, which are worn by American fire fighters in NY. In the US, each fire department usually makes its original T-shirts. Not only firemen wear, but also they sell them to the community for a part of its community services.
As far as in Japanese, it was just released the movie, "Back Draft", when FIRE FIGHTERS opened the store and many Japanese were fascinated its movie, and admire the spirit of American firemen. Since then, FIRE FIGHTERS has been a great relationships with its fans who are from Japanese official fire fighters and rescue people to fashionists, such as stylist and models. Especially in early 90s, it was a huge boom of American Casual in Tokyo, called SHIBUKAJI - Shibuya Casual -, and FIRE FIGHTERS provided typical American clothing, like LOGO T-shirts. Department T-shirts are simple, but they always express the spirit of FIREMEN, so they have been accepted by many guys who like American style.
The first store of "FIRE FIGHTERS" is still located on PROPELLER St. and it was celebrated over 15 years now. (They changed its name RESCUE SQUAD - FIRE FIGHTERS since 1999) Now they have 7 stores in Japan and also runs online and catalog stores.
RESCUE SQUAD always has great connections with many different kind of PROFESSIONALS, such as designers and manufactures. Also they have many opportunities to work with outside industries as a apparel company because this store is the only store who cross over between apparel and fire fighting. Of course they are many stores who sell "military items" or "surplus goods" in Japan. Usually FIRE FIGHTERS's T-shirts are sold in those stores. However RESCUE SQUAD tries to attract not only who are interested in fire fighters, but also in fashion. That is the different between other geeky stores and RESCUE SQUAD.
They are not that popular like BATHING APE because they don't have "signature" producer/designer like NIGO is.But its quality of clothing and uniqueness is still outstanding, I believe. That is why they still here!!
RESCUE SQUAD is now aiming to attract the US market, which is actually its origin, conceptually. Their customer service providing in Japanese market will help its expanding to the international market, such as issuing direct mails with hand writing comments by sales associates or the point system with membership cards.
The web site of RESCUE SQUAD is captivating many fans and provide a lot of knowledge of RESCUE things for ordinary people as well.
I hope they will accept the US market sometimes soon :)