Japan apparel platform Zozo merges fine fashion with high tech

TOKYO — Despite an ongoing slump in the apparel sector, Zozo — operator of clothing retail website Zozotown — is doing well, with transaction value hitting a new high for the Japanese company.

President Kotaro Sawada, who took over from charismatic founder Yusaku Maezawa, is turning the company into a rock-solid fashion platform. Instead of leaning on charm and hype, he is looking to create a sound corporate culture based on employees who are passionate about clothing.

“I’m not a charismatic manager,” said Sawada, who took over from the brilliant but flawed Maezawa in September 2019. He considers himself more down to earth, “a little different” from execs who infuse personal dogma into their management style.

Until now, Maezawa’s “existence itself was the management strategy.” The founder was known for his unique personality and penchant for creating controversial tweetstorms. His unorthodox behavior, described by some as “mischievous” and unfettered by

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