ITOCHU Announces Roll-Out of New White Raven Brand

-Sales to Begin in Europe and the United States through Collaboration with Japanese Designers-

November 10, 2010

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that in conjunction with designers Ben Mori and Hiroto Toyoda, it will launch the new White Raven brand, to be rolled out during the 2011 spring/summer season primarily in the European and United States markets.

Ben Mori, whose grandmother is international designer Hanae Mori, is currently active as a graphic designer and is influenced by American graphic art. Meanwhile, after being impressed by contemporary UK art and becoming a graphic designer, Hiroto Toyoda switched careers to become a major designer of apparel. These two figures from different cultures and generations identified with one another in their desire to launch a new street brand that reflected their respective sensitivities, and this served as the impetus for the creation of the new White Raven brand.

White Raven is a new high street casual brand that gets its name from the white raven that appears in Native American mythology. The collection is designed based on a variety of unconventional approaches to art and technique derived from street culture. The creations showcased at the Pitti Uomo (the world’s largest trade show of men’s ready-to-wear apparel) held in Italy in June 2010, Capsule (a men’s trade show that largely showcases up-and-coming designers from New York and premium street brands) held in New York in July and the PROJECT show held in Las Vegas in August were met with high praise by fashion industry insiders around the world. A full-scale launch of the collection for European and American markets will commence from the 2011 spring/summer season.

As a part of these efforts, Itochu will provide backing for production systems, distribution in Europe and the United States and financial aspects for the collection, and at the same time seek to expand the White Raven brand. With a focus on department stores and select shops across Europe and the United States, sales of 100 million yen in the first year and 500 million yen after three years are expected. 

ITOCHU has many years of experience and expertise in the fashion industry, with production systems that utilize its planning and global networks, a network of contacts in the fashion industry and a distribution network. Moving forward, Itochu will continue to make use of these assets to aggressively drive business geared towards overseas markets.

  • Ben Mori: Born 1981. Raised in a family with deep connections to the fashion industry as the grandchild of designer Hanae Mor. At the age of 15, specialized in graphic art at the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States. Active as a graphic designer since returning to Japan.
  • Hiroto Toyoda: Born 1964. After graduating from Tokyo Designer Gakuin College, he switched careers from graphic design to the apparel business. Including the launch of urahara brand Montage, he has been active as a fashion designer.