Adidas Warns of 2024 Sales Decline in Overstocked North America Market 

An Adidas shop is seen amid the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, Germany, April 20, 2020. (Reuters)
An Adidas shop is seen amid the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, Germany, April 20, 2020. (Reuters)
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Adidas Warns of 2024 Sales Decline in Overstocked North America Market 

An Adidas shop is seen amid the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, Germany, April 20, 2020. (Reuters)
An Adidas shop is seen amid the coronavirus pandemic in Berlin, Germany, April 20, 2020. (Reuters)

German sportswear giant Adidas said on Wednesday it expects a decline in its sales in North America this year, blaming a still-overstocked market there, as the company continues to sell off the sneakers from its axed Yeezy line.

Currency-neutral sales in North America are expected to decline at a mid-single-digit rate in 2024, with growth forecast in all other regions, Adidas said, announcing its final full-year results.

Adidas reported preliminary results for the year in late January and delivered a 2024 forecast far below analysts' expectations, as profits dwindle from a sell-off in its discontinued sneaker line with Kanye West.

"Although by far not good enough, 2023 ended better than what I had expected at the beginning of the year," chief executive Bjorn Gulden said.

The German retailer said its board would propose a dividend of 0.70 euros ($0.7650) per share, unchanged from last year, despite a difficult 2023, during which the company posted a net loss from continuing operations of 58 million euros.

Adidas is gambling that it can claw back market share from Nike and others even as demand for sportswear declines. It has benefited from a trend for low-rise suede "terrace" sneakers such as the Samba and Gazelle, and last year ramped up production.

Footwear sales grew by 8% over the fourth quarter, while apparel sales fell 13%.

"Things have clearly been going in the right direction at Adidas since Bjorn Gulden took over," said Thomas Joekel, portfolio manager at Union Investment. "Brand heat is increasing, which can also be seen from the fact that fewer products now have to be sold at a discount."



Louis Vuitton Hires Advertising Chief to Run Communications

The logo of luxury brand Louis Vuitton is seen in New York City, on April 10, 2024. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
The logo of luxury brand Louis Vuitton is seen in New York City, on April 10, 2024. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
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Louis Vuitton Hires Advertising Chief to Run Communications

The logo of luxury brand Louis Vuitton is seen in New York City, on April 10, 2024. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
The logo of luxury brand Louis Vuitton is seen in New York City, on April 10, 2024. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

Louis Vuitton said on Thursday it had recruited Blake Harrop to be its next communications chief, replacing industry veteran Stefano Cantino, who was named deputy chief executive officer of Kering-owned Gucci earlier in the day.
Harrop's appointment to be Executive Vice President, Image and Communications at the LVMH-owned label, the world's biggest fashion brand, was first reported by publication WWD.
Harrop and Cantino's new jobs underline how central communications and marketing have become for high-end fashion labels at a time of rapid global growth.
Harrop is a high-profile, international advertising executive from outside the fashion trade - a rarity in the business - while Cantino worked for two decades at Prada before Vuitton.
Harrop, president of advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy since 2022, has extensive international experience, leading the US agency in China, Japan and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, and running business with Nike in Japan, South Korea, the Middle East and Europe.
As part of his new job, Harrop will contribute to new campaigns aimed at elevating Vuitton's image, the brand's Chief Executive Pietro Beccari said in a statement to Reuters.
"I am confident of his capacity to inspire passion and collectiveness," Beccari said.
Louis Vuitton has become increasingly involved in sport, producing trunks specially designed to hold the medals in the upcoming Paris Olympics.


Zara Owner Inditex Demands Clarity from Cotton Certifier Accused of Standard Breaches

 Shoppers visit a Zara store in a shopping mall the day of its reopening after being closed for more than two years due to Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine April 3, 2024. (Reuters)
Shoppers visit a Zara store in a shopping mall the day of its reopening after being closed for more than two years due to Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine April 3, 2024. (Reuters)
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Zara Owner Inditex Demands Clarity from Cotton Certifier Accused of Standard Breaches

 Shoppers visit a Zara store in a shopping mall the day of its reopening after being closed for more than two years due to Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine April 3, 2024. (Reuters)
Shoppers visit a Zara store in a shopping mall the day of its reopening after being closed for more than two years due to Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine April 3, 2024. (Reuters)

Zara owner Inditex demanded more transparency from a certifier that vets some of the cotton used by the Spanish fashion giant following an investigation that found evidence of malpractice by two Brazilian certified cotton producers.

Inditex sent a letter dated April 8 to Better Cotton CEO Alan McClay asking for clarity on the certification process and progress on traceability practices after the NGO Earthsight informed the retailer that producers with Better Cotton certifications were involved in land grabbing, illegal deforestation and violent acts against local communities, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.

Inditex said it had waited more than six months for the results of an internal investigation by Better Cotton that was promised for the end of March and began in August 2023, according to the letter.

The allegations "represent a serious breach in the trust placed in Better Cotton's certification process by both our group and our product suppliers," Inditex said in the letter. "The trust that we place in such processes developed by independent organizations, such as yours, is key to our supply chain control strategy."

The contents of the letter was first published by Modaes, a fashion business news site. Inditex confirmed to Reuters it had sent the letter.

Inditex does not purchase cotton directly but its providers are audited by certifiers such as Better Cotton to ensure good practices when obtaining their raw materials.

Geneva-based Better Cotton, one of the world's largest certifiers of sustainable practices in the cotton industry, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

It said in an April 4 statement that it had concluded a third party audit of three farms implicated by Earthsight but that it would not publish its findings until it had seen the full report, which was due to be published on Thursday.

Better Cotton said its strategic partner in Brazil, the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers, was revising elements of its standards to align with those of Better Cotton.

Created by companies and several nonprofits including the World Wildlife Fund, Better Cotton says it aims to support improved practices in areas like water and soil stewardship and to promote better working standards.

Fashion retailers face increasing pressures from consumers and activist groups to sell products with less environmental impact and made in safe labor conditions.


Uniqlo Owner Seen Posting 11% Profit Bump on Q2 Overseas Sales

Shoppers walk inside Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2014. (Reuters)
Shoppers walk inside Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2014. (Reuters)
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Uniqlo Owner Seen Posting 11% Profit Bump on Q2 Overseas Sales

Shoppers walk inside Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2014. (Reuters)
Shoppers walk inside Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan July 10, 2014. (Reuters)

The Japanese operator of global clothing heavyweight Uniqlo is expected to post a stronger quarterly profit on Thursday as its overseas units make up for slowing growth at home.

Fast Retailing's operating profit in the three months through February likely rose 11% from a year earlier to 114.3 billion yen ($753.4 million), based on the average of five analyst estimates compiled by LSEG.

The increase builds the first quarter, when Fast Retailing posted a 25% jump in earnings on the back of strong results in China, its biggest foreign market.

The company conservatively left its forward guidance unchanged after those results, so second-quarter results may top consensus figures, according to LightStream Research analyst Oshadhi Kumarasiri.

"This optimism is fueled by several factors, including the ongoing recovery of the Uniqlo business in China and South Korea, robust same-store sales performance across the Asia, India, and Oceania regions, and the impressive sales volume of apparel observed in the US in December 2023," he wrote in a report on the Smartkarma platform.

The company founded and run by Tadashi Yanai has posted record results in the past two years and is projecting profits to climb again this year as it continues to aggressively grow overseas.

Yanai, Japan's richest man, is scheduled to speak at Fast Retailing's earnings briefing on Thursday.

With its 922 stores in mainland China, Fast Retailing is a bellwether for global retailers operating in the world's second-biggest economy. Sales in the region have bounced back strongly in the past year from the doldrums of COVID-19 lockdowns.

The yen's slide to a near 34-year low is also a tailwind for Fast Retailing, which gets more than half its revenue from outside Japan.

Fast Retailing's shares are up 28% so far in 2024, compared with a 19% advance in the benchmark Nikkei index.


Puma Hones Focus on Speed in Olympic Battle with Adidas and Nike

Detail picture of Rickie Fowler of the United States Puma golf shoes during the second round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio on April 05, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Getty Images/AFP)
Detail picture of Rickie Fowler of the United States Puma golf shoes during the second round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio on April 05, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Puma Hones Focus on Speed in Olympic Battle with Adidas and Nike

Detail picture of Rickie Fowler of the United States Puma golf shoes during the second round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio on April 05, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Getty Images/AFP)
Detail picture of Rickie Fowler of the United States Puma golf shoes during the second round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio on April 05, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Getty Images/AFP)

German sportswear brand Puma is using this year's Olympic Games and its partnership with sprint champions Jamaica to focus on speed as it jostles with Adidas and Nike to carve out space in an increasingly competitive running and lifestyle market.

Puma CEO Arne Freundt aims to boost sales of "performance" products like running shoes and soccer cleats, and is revamping Puma's "Forever Faster" message in its first brand campaign in a decade on Wednesday in Paris, host of this year's Games.

As Puma tries to win over more everyday and serious runners, its sponsorship of Jamaica's Olympic team and some of the world's best sprinters like Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah helps to associate the brand with speed, said Geoff Lowery, analyst at Redburn in London.

"You're never going to sell very many running spikes, but in terms of properly iconic teams that credentialize you as a performance brand and associate you with some of the most exciting athletes, Puma have a super-strong relationship there," Lowery said.

Freundt visited Jamaica at the end of March, attending the country's top high school track and field meet for the first time to launch the Jamaican Olympic kit at the event seen as a testing ground for young athletic talent.

"We need to be very clear that Puma is about speed," Freundt, who has been in the top job just over a year, told Reuters in an interview ahead of the campaign launch. "That's something we need to strengthen further in the consumer mindset."

Like other sportswear retailers that sponsor Olympians and pour marketing money into the Games, the bet is that athletes breaking records in Puma gear will nudge spectators towards its whole range of products, creating a potential "halo effect" for everything from marathon shoes to everyday sneakers.

Brands like Puma, Adidas, and Nike will also be allowed to celebrate their Olympic athletes' medal wins on social media during the Games for the first time, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans to relax rules governing online marketing in a "pilot project" with the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.

"With the new IOC regulations we will be able to use that moment in a better way, to congratulate them also via social media, I think that's a win-win for both the Olympics as well as us," Freundt said.


Pakistan’s Delicate Eid Bangles Go from Furnace to Forearms

 In this picture taken on March 31, 2024, customers buy bangles at a shop in Hyderabad. Layers of intricately decorated bangles are a staple fashion accessory for women in Pakistan, a carefully considered part of their Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebrations. (AFP)
In this picture taken on March 31, 2024, customers buy bangles at a shop in Hyderabad. Layers of intricately decorated bangles are a staple fashion accessory for women in Pakistan, a carefully considered part of their Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebrations. (AFP)
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Pakistan’s Delicate Eid Bangles Go from Furnace to Forearms

 In this picture taken on March 31, 2024, customers buy bangles at a shop in Hyderabad. Layers of intricately decorated bangles are a staple fashion accessory for women in Pakistan, a carefully considered part of their Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebrations. (AFP)
In this picture taken on March 31, 2024, customers buy bangles at a shop in Hyderabad. Layers of intricately decorated bangles are a staple fashion accessory for women in Pakistan, a carefully considered part of their Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebrations. (AFP)

Layers of intricately decorated bangles are a staple fashion accessory for women in Pakistan, a carefully considered part of their Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

More than a dozen people can be involved in the making of a single bangle, from sweltering factories to the homes of designers who skillfully decorate them by hand.

"Whatever the fashion trends, when we attend any event and wear any outfit it feels incomplete without bangles," said 42-year-old Talat Zahid, who uses beads, stitching and embroidery to embellish bangles.

"Even if you don't wear jewellery but wear bangles or a bracelet with your outfit, the outfit looks complete."

In the lead-up to this week's Eid al-Fitr festivities that mark the end of Ramadan, market stalls are adorned with a glittering array of colorful bangles, each turned over and inspected for their beauty and imperfections by women who haggle for a good price.

They are often sold by the dozen, starting at around 150 rupees (about 50 cents) and rising to 1,000 rupees as stones and silk are added.

Hyderabad is home to the delicate "churi" glass bangle, where a single furnace can produce up to 100 bangles an hour from molten glass wire shaped around an iron rod.

The work is arduous and frustrating -- laborers are exposed to oppressive temperatures in unregulated factories prone to frequent power cuts, while the fragile glass threads can snap easily.

"The work is done without a fan. If we turn on the fan the fire is extinguished. So the heat intensity is high. As it becomes hotter our work slows down," said 24-year-old Sameer, who followed his father into the industry and earns less than the minimum wage of 32,000 rupees ($115) a month.

After the partition of British-ruled India in 1947, migrating Muslims who had produced bangles in the Indian city of Firozabad took their trade to Hyderabad -- where hundreds of thousands of people rely on the industry.

But soaring gas prices after the government slashed subsidies have forced many factories to close or to operate at reduced hours.

"The speed at which the government has increased the gas prices and taxes, (means) the work in this area has started to shrink instead of expand," said 50-year-old factory owner Muhammad Nafees.

Most bangles leave the factory as plain loops, sent off to be embellished to different degrees by women who work from home, before they're finally passed on to traders to be sold in markets.

The production is often a family affair.

Saima Bibi, 25, works from home, carefully adding stones to bangles with the help of her three children when they return from school, while her husband works at the furnaces.

"They go through a lot of hands to be prepared," she said.


Armani Group Company in Receivership over Labor Exploitation Probe

People pass through an installation during the opening of the exhibition "Ground Break" by artist Nari Ward, at Pirelli HangarBicocca, in Milan, Italy, March 26, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
People pass through an installation during the opening of the exhibition "Ground Break" by artist Nari Ward, at Pirelli HangarBicocca, in Milan, Italy, March 26, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
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Armani Group Company in Receivership over Labor Exploitation Probe

People pass through an installation during the opening of the exhibition "Ground Break" by artist Nari Ward, at Pirelli HangarBicocca, in Milan, Italy, March 26, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
People pass through an installation during the opening of the exhibition "Ground Break" by artist Nari Ward, at Pirelli HangarBicocca, in Milan, Italy, March 26, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco

An Italian court on Friday placed under judicial administration a company owned by Italian fashion group Armani for indirectly subcontracting its production to Chinese companies that exploited workers.
The court in Milan ordered a one-year receivership for Giorgio Armani Operations, described as an industrial company of the Armani Group, according to the ruling seen by Reuters.
It said Giorgio Armani Operations had entrusted the production of its bags to two firms that subcontracted the work to four Chinese companies which paid their workers 2 to 3 euro per hour.
Armani Group said in a statement that it had "always had control and prevention measures in place to minimize abuses in the supply chain," adding that it would work with the authorities to clarify its position.


Kering Buys Building in Milan’s via Montenapoleone for $1.4 Bln 

The logo of French luxury group Kering is seen at Kering headquarters in Paris, France, February 13, 2023. (Reuters)
The logo of French luxury group Kering is seen at Kering headquarters in Paris, France, February 13, 2023. (Reuters)
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Kering Buys Building in Milan’s via Montenapoleone for $1.4 Bln 

The logo of French luxury group Kering is seen at Kering headquarters in Paris, France, February 13, 2023. (Reuters)
The logo of French luxury group Kering is seen at Kering headquarters in Paris, France, February 13, 2023. (Reuters)

French luxury group Kering said on Thursday it acquired an 18th century building in via Montenapoleone, the heart of Milan's most exclusive shopping area, for 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), from Blackstone Property Partners Europe.

Kering's deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions of buildings in top fashion locations by big luxury groups.

The building, which already hosts Saint Laurent's store, is developed over five floors. It includes more than 5,000 square meters of retail space, making it one of the largest properties in via Montenapoleone, according to the statement.

"This investment is part of Kering's selective real estate strategy, aimed at securing key highly desirable locations for its houses," the group said in a statement.

Kering, which last month warned that its first-quarter sales were likely to drop by around 10%, added that it aimed to manage its real estate portfolio with the goal of retaining a stake in its prime assets alongside co-investors in dedicated vehicles, as it did for a building for its Italian label Bottega Veneta in Tokyo.


Tommy Hilfiger-owner PVH Shares Fall as Tepid Europe Demand Hits 2024 Forecasts

A look from Tommy Hilfiger’s autumn/winter 2024 collection at New York Fashion Week. (AFP)
A look from Tommy Hilfiger’s autumn/winter 2024 collection at New York Fashion Week. (AFP)
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Tommy Hilfiger-owner PVH Shares Fall as Tepid Europe Demand Hits 2024 Forecasts

A look from Tommy Hilfiger’s autumn/winter 2024 collection at New York Fashion Week. (AFP)
A look from Tommy Hilfiger’s autumn/winter 2024 collection at New York Fashion Week. (AFP)

Shares of PVH Corp slumped up to 25% on Tuesday, a day after the Calvin Klein-owner forecast a steeper-than-expected drop in its annual revenue on the back of weakening demand in Europe.

The apparel maker, which also owns Tommy Hilfiger, forecast fiscal 2024 revenue to fall between 6% and 7%, steeper than the 2.3% drop estimated by analysts, according to LSEG data.

PVH plans to significantly reduce the number of online platforms it sells to in Europe in mid-2024, CEO Stefan Larsson said on a conference call on Tuesday, adding that the move would lead to a 5% reduction in its total European sales this year.

"Where the consumer and macro (backdrop) are tougher, we are willing to sacrifice short term, low-quality revenues in order to strengthen our brand position and pricing power," Larsson said.

The decline in PVH stock also dragged shares of peers VF Corp, Tapestry and Ralph Lauren, all of which were down at least 5%.

"A slowing and increasingly promotional European market is a concern and the outlook comes as a surprise," Telsey Advisory Group analyst Dana Telsey wrote in a note.

PVH forecast its annual earnings per share in the range of $10.75 to $11.00, versus analysts' estimate of $11.89.

Retailers such as PVH, Levi Strauss and Ralph Lauren have struggled with weaker wholesale business in North America due to department stores and retailers cutting back on orders owing to slow consumer demand.

PVH's wholesale revenue declined 10% in the fourth quarter, as wholesale customers across North America and Europe continued to take a cautious approach.

The company, however, beat analysts' expectations for quarterly sales and profit on the back on a strong holiday demand and better inventory planning.

PVH's forward price-to-earnings multiple, a common benchmark for valuing stocks, is at 11.35, lower than Ralph Lauren and Lululemon Athletica's P/E ratio of 16.28 and 26.27, respectively.


UK Fashion Retailers ASOS, Boohoo to Clarify Green Credentials Claims, Says Regulator 

New employees wait in the lobby on their first day of work at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. (Reuters)
New employees wait in the lobby on their first day of work at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. (Reuters)
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UK Fashion Retailers ASOS, Boohoo to Clarify Green Credentials Claims, Says Regulator 

New employees wait in the lobby on their first day of work at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. (Reuters)
New employees wait in the lobby on their first day of work at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. (Reuters)

Top fashion retailers ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda have signed undertakings to clarify the way they display, describe and promote their environmental credentials, Britain's competition watchdog said on Wednesday.

The announcement follows a 2022 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) amid heightened scrutiny of companies exaggerating their green credentials in an attempt to woo climate-conscious consumers as well as billions of dollars from environmentally focused investor funds.

Some of the undertakings include making clear statements about materials used in green ranges such as "organic" or "recycled" instead of "eco" or "sustainable" and setting out clear criteria to decide which products are part of the environmental collections, the CMA said.

The three brands together make over 4.4 billion pounds ($5.56 billion) annually from UK fashion sales alone, according to the regulator.


Godzilla Claw Shoes on Oscars Red Carpet Are Just One of Hazama’s ‘Dark Fantasy’ Creations 

The various Godzilla-themes shoes by Japanese fashion designer Ryosuke Matsui, on a table also designed by Matsui, are shown during an interview with The Associated Press at his company office on the outskirts of Tokyo, Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP)
The various Godzilla-themes shoes by Japanese fashion designer Ryosuke Matsui, on a table also designed by Matsui, are shown during an interview with The Associated Press at his company office on the outskirts of Tokyo, Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP)
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Godzilla Claw Shoes on Oscars Red Carpet Are Just One of Hazama’s ‘Dark Fantasy’ Creations 

The various Godzilla-themes shoes by Japanese fashion designer Ryosuke Matsui, on a table also designed by Matsui, are shown during an interview with The Associated Press at his company office on the outskirts of Tokyo, Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP)
The various Godzilla-themes shoes by Japanese fashion designer Ryosuke Matsui, on a table also designed by Matsui, are shown during an interview with The Associated Press at his company office on the outskirts of Tokyo, Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP)

One Japanese creation grabbing attention on the Oscars red carpet wasn't a movie: the kitsch shoes that seemed to be clenched in Godzilla's claw.

They were the work of Ryosuke Matsui, who recently described his joy at seeing “Godzilla Minus One” director Takashi Yamazaki and his Shirogumi special-effects team walk the red carpet and win the visual effects Oscar, all while wearing his shoes.

“The director loves my shoes. He calls them his uniform,” Matsui told The Associated Press in an interview.

At 35 with a fashion career that's barely a decade old, Matsui heads his own brand called Hazama, which means “the space-in-between” in Japanese.

A small business with just six employees, Hazama offers girlie outfits with fluffy skirts, as well as Gothic themes, kimono and sweaters in gradient colors, jackets with repetitive motifs evocative of Andy Warhol, sofas and coffee tables, and, of course, the shoes with the crazy heels.

One pair has a pistol trigger you can really pull though without any bullets, while another looks like it’s stuck in an alien’s blood-red teeth.

“Dark fantasy” is what Matsui calls his motifs. His imaginary world is filled with odd creatures like witches, scary penguins and iridescent polar bears, where objects suddenly melt, a face might get replaced by a giant rose, or a horrific hand grabs your heel from underground.

His brand’s spaces in-between are the filters through which Matsui sees and expresses his mesmerizing stories of the beginnings of time, inhabited by “the people” he’s concocted. He would love to have his own café or work on an animation project.

“Of course, cool people look great, no matter what they wear, but clothes can change the way you think, how you relate to people around you, work as that doorway into building your confidence,” he said.

Matsui's no-nonsense friendly attitude defies his demure first impression. Sitting amid mounds of boxes and packages of clothing at his office on the outskirts of Tokyo, he was wearing a Hazama-designed hoodie with rainbow-tinged fangs of an “aurora shark” for studs, with torn Yves Saint Laurent jeans and Nike sneakers. He said he wasn't wearing his Godzilla shoes because he was working.

The Godzilla shoes originated as a special order from the film’s producer for the Japan premiere in October last year. Their stealing the show at the recent Academy Awards ceremony wasn’t even in the script then.

It took Matsui about a year to finish the initial three designs, the 75,000 yen (about $500) red pumps for actress Minami Hamabe, the 88,000 yen ($600) shoes for Yamazaki, and boots decorated with jagged scales, priced at 105,500 yen ($700), for Ryunosuke Kamiki, the movie’s co-star alongside Godzilla.

The entire first batch of several hundred already sold out. Plans are underway to produce more, perhaps in different colors, like gold in homage of the Oscar statue.

Interest has been huge, according to Matsui. But, in theory, everyone who’s got their hearts set on a Godzilla shoe should be able to get one, eventually.

Growing up in a loving family that sent him to piano and swimming lessons and “juku” cram schools, Matsui is a graduate of the prestigious Keio University and could have easily become a successful “salaryman” like other young Japanese men.

But he didn’t want to part with his then-blond hair.

Although he has always respected Yohji Yamamoto, he purposely pursued color and fabric texture, instead of Yamamoto’s focus on black and stark lines.

When asked about his global ambitions, Matsui acknowledged he is quite happy working in Japan. His dream is surprisingly local: to create the fashion for Bump of Chicken, a Japanese rock band.

Besides, he’s afraid of flying.