We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Sato and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Greg, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Growing up bi-cultural (Japanese-American) in a suburb of LA played a big role in shaping how I view the world and my place in it. Never being fully a part of either, you instead become a hybrid of both. I consider myself lucky in that I didn’t encounter too much of the overt racism we’re seeing against our community today. But looking back, I do think there was a sense of adaptation that had to occur in order to survive and thrive in a world that viewed you as “other.” I’ve now found my background a source of strength and pride. To be Asian-American in Los Angeles is a badge I wear proudly. My community inspires me everyday. Not only do I look at what previous generations did in the early 1900s, leaving everything they knew to start a new life an ocean away, only to have it all taken away with the stroke of a pen when EO 9066 was signed into law in 1942. But I also look at my generation who have achieved so much. The Asian-American community in LA is one of the most vibrant and beautiful I know and everyday I’m proud to be a part of it.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Finery has been designing the Anti-Uniform since 2013. We make the antithesis of uniforms for hotels, restaurants, brands, gyms, spas, etc. The biggest piece of advice I would give to anyone is look for the white space. Find an open lane and take it. Just because things have been done the same way for decades, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right way. I think the tech industry showed us that as they disrupted the generally accepted way of doing things, experiencing things, and making things. We were lucky in that we found a space- uniforms- that was an archaic dinosaur with no one realizing that uniforms didn’t actually have to look like uniforms. They don’t. And they shouldn’t have to.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take them to General Quarters for clothes. Free & Easy and Total Luxury Spa are also favorite local brands of mine. Toiro and The Good Liver have beautiful kitchen-ware. JF Chen and Galerie Half for antiques. On Fridays visit Our Piece of the Pie in Arts District for the weekly outdoor BIPOC market. Definitely grab a taco from Taco Zone and Mariscos Jalisco trucks. Get down to Gardena for soba and mochi from Otafuku and Sakuraya respectively. On the way down grab a hot dog from Earle’s. See the new Yoshitomo Nara exhibit at LACMA. Desert Creations has the most beautiful plant specimens out in Northridge. Drive up PCH and go to the hidden beach with your dogs. Spend a night in Idyllwild. Hike through the forests and talk with the old guys who hang on the bench in front of the coffee shop every morning. Walk around the Silver Lake reservoir- always good people watching on the weekend. Grab a coffee at Bloom and Plume or Maru. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Proper has you covered in Santa Monica and DTLA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Vizion Jones & Jen Bui of Our Piece of the Pie