Just to add my $0.02... First off, as to why Japanese are into European clothes, items, etc., let me make a sweeping social generalization and say that Japan has an extraordinarily high number of 'otaku', which normally refers to males who's main hobbies are animation or computers, but can actually be applied to any person with an irrational obssession over some particular item or field. This explains the amazing number of trade specific magazine-books (called "mooks") for shoes, watches, cameras, cars etc.. That said, most 'otaku' of fashion items do not put as much stock into domestic "western clothing" (in Japanese: youfuku) products as they don't have the time honored tradition and cache of a European product. This helps explains the exorbitant prices for English shoes. There are comparable quality shoes available in Japan by domestic makers, but they sell nowhere near the price of European shoes. By no means are the Japanese just dumb and just willing to pay higher prices, but insatiable demand for "ideal products" drives the prices to almost twice the amount in England. As to couture fashion in Asia, despite the success of some Japanese designers overseas, there is no way that Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Kawakubo Rei, et al are going to outsell Vuitton or Chanel in Japan. In fact all three designers sell more in Europe and America despite Japan being the single largest market for luxury goods worldwide. I believe the reason for this discrepancy is what we are defining as "tradition." Japanese people want something with the allure, respect, history that can only be found in 'traditional' European brands. With respect to China, the Chinese obviously have a tradition of creating gorgeous silk outfits, it by no means correlates to a tradition of couture clothing, which is undoubtedly originated from Europe. More on topic, I believe Son of Brummell summed it up best in his breakdown of the fashion industry into 3 groups. China has already dominated the lower end RTW market, and is now moving into the better RTW department which is where most of the major fashion houses make money. This is also the lifeblood of many European textile mills. But couture is a different story. It is unlikely that China, nor even Japan for that matter, will ever produce an indigenous couture designer that will demand the same aura of respect as a traditional European house, so that market is essentially sealed off from Chinese competition. Of course the reverse is also true: no one would buy a serious kimono (Gucci doesn't count) made by a western designer, and why not? The kimono is "tradition" in Japan, just as couture fashion is "tradition" in Europe.