I don’t know where to start. Especially since I had pushed “Superdry” out of the memory cortex in my brain so that I would never have to think of it again. Perhaps I’m jonesin’ to lay into it now because at New York Fashion Week this month someone actually asked me how well doing Superdry is doing in Japan.
…at that moment it was hard to sustain the most pirate-y bluebeard guffaw the planet has ever heard. Cuz like, totally like, Superdry isn’t Japanese. But the UK-based parent company it’s from sure has done a damn fine job of making it seem like one, STILL.
Engrish what? How about cheese Japaneese
The stylised logo for “Superdry”, is 極度乾燥（しなさい）which amounts to “Dry it extremely!”. The exclamation point is important since the Japanese alludes to it being an order from someone close to you like your mom or girlfriend. Of course, in Japanese it would never actually be said this way, amounting to a joke.
The funny English messages on Japanese goods, called “Engrish” begat cults of followers and probably brought an entire of generation of tourists to Japan. But since Japan is the only country where Nihongo is spoken, the crazy ass-backwards messages that Superdry translates from Babelfish or Google or whatever and slaps on its t-shirts doesn’t get the attention it deserves:
“Property (asset) of Japan.” Actually, it’s the UKs.
“Lubricating automobile” I just…don’t….
Ouch… “kyokudo gasoline” is probably supposed to be “premium gasoline”. But do you know what we call premium gasoline in Japanese? PREMIUM GASOLINE.
Like…”We have valuable assets because we want to have fun”
Trying to kana-ize “superdry” with a LOL-worthy result… “spelldree”
“I’m a hunting predator!”
To be fair, I think they’ve scaled back the cheese Japaneese considerably, and instead are focusing on the nostalgic Americana styles, which is still ass-backwards since they are… British. That, mixed with the Japanese characters makes it look like American Eagle in a weird future parallel dimension where fashion went awry….
The brand seems to be doing well, and according to the site, Superdry has “79 standalone UK stores, as well as concessions in 71 department stores. Internationally, Superdry has stores across the USA, Australia, Europe, South America and Asia.” The owner is also one of the richest men in the UK now, according to Wikipedia. I first saw one in San Francisco a LONG time ago and I was as much “WTF is THAT” then, as I am now. If you want cool Japanese t-shirts, then pssst…. go to Uniqlo.
Japanese do not have the affinity for irony and sarcasm as the Brits but isn’t the irony just DRIPPING that a foreigner would make hundreds of millions of dollars by marketing the Japanese language? I think Japan is in a place where making fun of themselves is en mode so perhaps there will be a chance sighting in the wild here? Or is Superdry wet these days?