Just a few days after multiple fashion brands reported they’d be moving their employees out of distaster-stricken Tokyo, Rebecca Taylor announced that it will go forward with plans to open a store in the city’s Harajuku district.
While a lot of fashion people have focused their energy on sending money to Tokyo and to other impacted areas of Japan, Taylor’s method of helping seems to be adding jobs to the local economy (and a few dollars to her bottom line. Taylor’s CEO Beth Bugdaycay told WWD that Japanese sales account for 10 to 12 percent of Taylor’s total business. We’re worried the push to get a store open in a city many left for fear of radiation poisoning might come off as a little insensitive. But Bugdaycay asured WWD the company is trying to be “as respectful and thoughtful as possible.”
“‘The overriding message should be that despite the traumatic situation in Japan, which is definitely emotionally draining for everybody, people feel the need to work toward the goals they’ve already set into motion. To stop everything would be even more demoralizing.’
… the Harajuku store will be open for just two hours a day until conditions in the city improve. Taylor had been planning to go to Tokyo in May for a press event at the new store. ‘She still might,’ Bugdaycay said. ‘I hope everything’s stabilized by then.'”
And we have no doubt that adding jobs to the local economy will help things stabilize, but we have to wonder whether keeping a shop open for a few hours a day will help the city — and the country it’s in — return to normalcy any faster than donating money or time to the people who need it most.
Shutting down the entire Japanese operation would be demoralizing. But is selling bags while there are still people in the city struggling a better option?