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Kariyushi wear industry cutting production levels

Date Posted: 2010-05-06

Kariyushi wear, Okinawa’s home grown original design fashion wear, has hit a snag as it wants to hold prices even as sales drop.

There are 25 companies that manufacture the Kariyushi wear, Okinawa’s answer to the Hawaiian Aloha shirts, but the Okinawa Prefecture Clothes Production Industry Association says the companies are now planning to produce 10% fewer shirts this year than in 2009. The industry says it wants to protect the price for original Okinawa fashions, and doesn’t want to reduce prices.

That may not be possible though, according to the Clothes Industrial Association, because there is so much product left over from last year. Without cutting prices though, the retailers say they’ll not be able to get the clothing off the shelves. Industry insiders say there are several reasons for the sales decline.

“The Kariyushi wear design should be more varied,” consumers say, “and not only one design, but many different designs.” An overseas designer says “there is too much color or design in the clothes.” The Clothing Industrial Association says that’s a problem hard to fix because “we have to order at least 2,000 meters of cloth at a minimum, and that means more than 1,000 Kariyushi wear in a single pattern.”

The Clothing Industrial Association agrees that nobody’s buying the same type of Kariyushi wear anymore, but people are seeking something different. Consumers are signaling they don’t want to pay the higher prices for Kariyushi wear anymore, either. “People already have shirts and don’t want more than they need,” one official says. “It’s approaching saturation and prices have to come down.” Factories say they don’t want to see that happen, so the Kariyushi wear industry is facing a crossroads confrontation.

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