What happened to Swankiss?

In February 2023, Japanese Twitter users noticed the disappearance of popular Japanese women’s fashion brand Swankiss. Clothing from Swankiss was overall very feminine often with notes of vintage, kawaii, and romantic elements. Larme magazine often featured Swankiss adverts which led to gaining a decent overseas following. Often times it was considered a larme kei or girly kei brand. The brand quietly disappeared this year though leading many to ask “What happened to Swankiss?”

Swankiss model wearing plaid crop top and skirt with bear accessories. She is holding her face in shock.

About Swankiss

Started in August 2016, Swankiss characterized themselves by making “romantic,” “sweet,” and “fantasy” clothing for women and girls in their teens and twenties. They had four stores in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Hiroshima, and an online shop that also carried their sister brand MISS ME BY CHALING, aimed at women in their twenties and thirties. The brand was heavily featured in Larme.

Swankiss’s Final Days

Swankiss reported 451 million yen in annual sales for their 2019 fiscal year. Due to COVID-19, the brand began to see a decrease in sales. At the end of the 2021 fiscal year, their sales declined to 276 million yen, approximately nearing a 40% drop.

Inside of Swankiss clothing store in Shibuya109.
Swankiss Tokyo store located in Shibuya109 [via Twitter]

Due to ongoing losses, the brand prepared itself to cease operations. In August 2022, Swankiss’s sister brand MISS ME BY CHALING was transferred to another company. In December of 2022, they closed their Osaka store. By the end of January 2023, the online shop and remaining three stores in Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Tokyo closed. Swankiss filed for bankruptcy.

Since Swankiss never posted an official announcement, word of the closing spread rather slowly, not really gaining traction until mid February. Twitter users noticed that all of the remaining online inventory of Swankiss items were heavily discounted. One person mentioned that another Larme kei brand called Honey Salon also closed the week prior.

Unfortunately, Swankiss was another pandemic casualty. Many brands with physical shops shuttered due to lack of tourists from Japan’s strict international travel restrictions. Even though Swankiss had an online shop, they did not ship overseas therefore making it difficult for overseas fans to buy their products without using a shopping service. Although that isn’t solely a Swankiss’s problem; many Japanese companies refuse to bother shipping internationally which sometimes may cost them more than they bargained for.

Memories of Swankiss

Swan Lake inspired white dress worn with white platform shoes. Model sits on a swan in a room filled with presents, balloons, and pink motifs.
Risa Nakamura modeling for Swankiss [via Mignon Paradis by Biia]

Although I never owned a piece of Swankiss myself, I considered their image really whimsical. Their use of popular models like Risa Nakamura and the late Sayaka Kanda really made them stand out to me. When I think of Risa Nakamura, really I think of Swankiss and the rise of Larme. I also really liked the look of their platform shoes, but they never made them in my size.

4 Halloween costumes from Swankiss and Bodyline collaboration. Bear themed costume, leopard themed costume, nun costume., and bunny girl costume.
Swankiss x Bodyline collaboration

The weirdest thing was that one Swankiss and Bodyline collaboration. They collaborated on a few Halloween costumes. Surprisingly, they were actually cute. Given Bodyline’s not so great reputation in Japan and that Swankiss was popular enough to have a shop inside Shibuya109, it was a huge surprise when this collaboration dropped. Overall not bad, but how did that even happen? What even was that?

Their styling was really fun and colorful, especially in the early days. Swankiss’s former producer Saaya Hayashida still works for MISS ME BY CHALING if you’re interested in following her work. Swankiss will be missed.

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3 thoughts on “What happened to Swankiss?”

  1. Thank you for providing information about what happened to Swankiss, I have been wondering about it since the beginning of the year! I was in Japan last October-November in 2022 and Swankiss was still in Shibuya 109 at that time and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I could have never imagined this would happen, in hindsight I now regret not buying anything that time… 🙁

    Small correction, Swankiss existed before 2016. I visited Japan for the first time in Dec/2014-Jan/2015 and they had a shop in Laforet in Harajuku!

  2. It’s so disheartening to lose Swankiss. It’s sad that the majority of people don’t appreciate clothes with character, and would rather wear a hoodie with a sports logo and leggings.

  3. I love Swankiss <3 I still have some Swankiss pieces from their Larme era, I love their pastel & dreamy aesthetic, and sometimes I wear them in my lolita coords too. I will miss Swankiss a lot, at least I can still find some of their old pieces on Closetchild!


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