Wacoal Corp., the predecessor to Wacoal Holdings Corp., was founded as Wako Corp. by Koichi Tsukamoto in postwar Japan of 1949. Wacoal became the first Japanese company to sell brassieres, thus establishing women's lingerie as a fashion item. Since then, Wacoal hos led the intimate apparel market in Japan while continuing rapid domestic growth.
Shortly after its founding, Wacoal established a 50-Year Plan (1950s to 1990s) consisting of five 10-year periods. The plan expressly indicated expansion into overseas markets in the third period (1970s), establishment of overseas markets in the fourth period (1980s), and realization of a global corporation in the fifth and final period (1990s).
lnstead of seeking inexpensive labeur, the original basic policy for overseas expansion concentrated solely on installing local management and establishing localized technology. Overseas expansion was conducted based on Koichi Tsukamoto's philosophy of respecting local culture and nationality while introducing the Wacoal resources and know-how, as well as cooperating with excellent local stoft. Our founder sought to establish a group bound by mutual trust as part of the Wacoal family. This philosophy is still at the heart of our business today.
In 1970, Wacoal established joint venture companies in Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea as the first step of overseas expansion in the Asian region, Wacoal begon business in these countries based on local production and local sales. In 1983, Wacoal entered America, after 20 years of ups and downs, the American business was transformed into a highly profitable business. Today, Wacoal is the top-selling brand at mid to upper-class department stores. Wacoal International Hong Kong Co., Ltd. was founded in 1983, followed by a joint venture company in China in 1986. In 2000, Wacoal took full ownership of the Chinese company; to date our Chinese business is expanding smoothly. Following our 50-Year Plan, Wacoal became the first Japanese textile apparel company that actively entered overseas markets and expanded overseas business.
Kyoto is the leading fashion capital of Japan and so, in 1978 Wacoal founded the Kyoto Costume lnstitute (KCI) where we conduct activities to create Wacoal's unique lingerie culture. The institute also allows Wacoal to discover the similarities and connection with Western style. The institute hos a collection of approximately 11,000 Western costumes and accessories spanning from the 16th century to modern times.
In 1990, Wacoal became the first Japanese lingerie manufacturer to enter France. In addition to furthering the Market Development in Europe, Wacoal passionately sought to conduct a positive cultural exchange. Countless joint exhibitions have been held between the KCI and costume art museums in Paris. In 1996, Wacoal received a Special Achievement Award trom the city of Paris followed by the Legion of Honor Award presented to Koichi Tsukamoto by the French Government in 1998.
Wacoal initially encountered difficulties when entering the different cultural spheres of Asia and America. Our company faced challenges in European markets where aesthetics and body shape differ according to the region. Wacoal continued to use France as a base tor business expansion in Europe. In order to expand our business across Europe, Wacoal acquired the Eveden Group, UK in April, 2012 and positioned it as a group subsidiary. Today, Wacoal group products are sold in approximately 47 countries through our local subsidiaries around the world.