We had the good fortune of connecting with Akina Sato and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Akina, how do you think about risk?
I try to have a positive view of risk, and look at it as a chance. Risk can be a great motivator and has often helped push me forward. Those who know me best know that I’m all or nothing in everything I do, whether in love or in work. Every decision in fashion has risk, whether it is deciding what to wear or choosing what vintage pieces to buy or sell. Taking a chance means I will either be successful or I will learn something in failure. In life, I took a big risk leaving my family and friends and moving from Japan to the US. Being here in the US, knowing that I gave up my career and connections in Japan, I knew I had to make it work. That said, I don’t think I necessarily looked at it as a big risk. I was mainly thinking of the possibilities and wanted to do what I could to make my dreams a reality. Only now when I look back do I realize what a risk it was. Not everything I’ve tried has been successful, but each chance taken has helped me focus and innovate and make myself better. I’ve also had the luck to have a very supportive husband and family, and their strength gives me confidence and freedom to take risks. I think I will always see myself as an unfinished product, and risk is something that keeps me moving and trying to improve.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I still see myself as very early in my journey. The end goal for me is to enjoy and pursue fashion in my way forever, and I am simply exploring different avenues to do so. I love vintage clothing, so I buy and sell. I love creating, so I started my brand Chemist. I love connecting with others, so I have a business that connects brands, stores, and artists. I never want to be the same as anyone else, and pursue my passions directly. Rather than think about it too much, I think it’s better to just try it. Nothing is easy; every passion takes hard work and study and luck. With fashion, I love that I can find inspiration anywhere. There can be an outfit I hate but a material I love, or a color combination I disagree with but a fantastic pattern. I also think it’s important to stay true to yourself. It’s so easy to be influenced one way or the other, but if you are happy with something then that’s what matters.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think LA is such an interesting place because of the different sides to its reality. I’d love to take her to a flea market and see all the folks selling vintage goods, finding new homes for old things that someone got rid of. On the flip side, showing her a place like Skid Row really brings to light how hard life can be in this city and how we have to take care of ourselves and each other. We would shop for local produce and cook a meal together. I’d take her to a favorite wine bar of ours and we’d enjoy a glass before dinner at one of my favorite restaurants like Bavel or Cafe Birdie. I love karaoke, so we’d have to do that of course. We would do a little vintage shopping at stores like Raggedy Threads, Vintage on Hollywood, or Golyester. We would ride bikes on the boardwalk at Venice Beach, stopping for a beer at a bar to watch the sunset. But really, what I’d want to do with my friend is just hang out at home, eating and drinking and talking and laughing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Thank you to my husband Andrew for everything.