Canadian SME defies convention to conquer Japan in unique fashion, opening first international flagship store

Anne Marie-Chagnon's Japan location will be the first of its kind outside Canada

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Montreal, March 14, 2018: Independent fashion brand Anne-Marie Chagnon opens its first dedicated store outside Canada this month despite conspicuously avoiding traditional business expansion methods or distribution networks, and without securing additional funding or expertise.

The famously non-conformist jewellery designer from Montreal secured the deal with Messe International Corporation this week to reinforce her brand’s representation in Tokyo. The store will be the first of its kind outside Canada and will contribute to the 60+ per cent of annual revenue the brand generates from outside its native Quebec. To date, only a handful of Canadian fashion designer brands have ever expanded internationally, let alone without first being acquired by a larger brand, or by securing distribution deals via major high-street fashion chains or department stores.

As Chagnon explains: “I am proud to be amongst those few to prove that Canadian design has no limits, and to offer hope and courage to other entrepreneurs that they too can become truly international without compromising their personal values. By sticking to a business model that favours independent retailers and stockists over big chains we have generated a loyal following amongst local and international jewellery connoisseurs alike. The opening this week signifies us delivering on a promise to our Japanese customers to invest in them as they have in us”.

Chagnon’s jewellery collections have been available in Japan since 2012, as they have internationally for several years. However, the 300 ft2 Daikanyama store in the heart of the trendy Shibuya district marks the first time in the brand’s 22-year history that a retail outlet has been dedicated to Anne Marie Chagnon rather than merely stocking the collections. “This elevates her to a similar if not greater degree of success as brands such as Marie St. Pierre or Philippe Dubuc,” comments brother and general manager David Chagnon. “Her success reflects her great creativity, her persistence, and her values. She never boasts of her accomplishments, but she is nevertheless one of the most successful all-time fashion creators in the country.”

This success is distinctly unorthodox since Chagnon has consistently preferred distribution only via fellow SME or independent retailers, museums, and even art galleries. Conversely the norm for SME fashion brands is to seek distribution as quickly as possible via the most expansive retail chains possible, piggybacking on their distribution networks, visibility, and substantial marketing clout. This rebellious business model blurs the line between retail and art, and has led to similarly unique collaborations for a fashion designer with Cirque du Soleil, with style icon Iris Apfel for a special collection sold at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., as well as for causes that she supports such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund of the Montreal Cancer Institute.

The Tokyo store will open this week, becoming the latest retail outlet in an international network that includes 600+ sales outlets in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Russia.

About Anne-Marie Chagnon – annemariechagnon.com

Trained in visual arts at the Université du Quebec à Montréal (UQAM), Quebec native Anne-Marie Chagnon has been creating wearable art since she was old enough to hold a welding torch. From 1995, her modern and minimalist aesthetic has captured the attention of customers all over the world. Chagnon’s contemporary approach to jewellery design has been the driving force behind her career, resulting in high profile collaborations with companies like Cirque du Soleil, for whom she created several exclusive collections. She was also awarded with the Étoile de Mode award at the Bijorhca Paris trade show, among numerous other honours and accolades the designer-artist has received. Since giving back is in Chagnon’s DNA, she designs two fundraising collections each year, for causes that she is passionate about. As a result, she was honoured with the YWCA Montreal’s Women of Distinction Award in Entrepreneurship in 2015. With the conviction to remain true to herself, she continues to create two seasonal collections each year for her likeminded customers the world over.

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For high-resolution images, photography, samples, or to coordinate an interview with Anne-Marie Chagnon, please contact The PR Department at 416.535.3939 or [email protected]

For interviews with the Japanese franchisee, please contact Messe I