We had the good fortune of connecting with Mima Osawa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mima, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
We all hear about the true cost of fast fashion, but it wasn’t until I witnessed firsthand the waste that occurs in the fashion industry that opened my eyes to reality. Endless piles of fabric mounting on top of each other, all leftover and discarded by other, larger producers in the fashion industry. From then, I quickly developed a fascination for sustainable fashion and wanted to come up with a creative solution to rescue these deadstock fabrics instead of letting them end up as waste in landfills. So I decided to take sustainability into my own hands by creating timeless fashion pieces through repurposing these deadstock fabrics and giving them a second chance.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
While we live in the notoriously overproducing world of fast fashion, I’m inspired by the concept of slow fashion – it’s the whole beauty of celebrating the skill of craftspeople and the art of garment making. The entire ethos behind my brand is to create beautiful, timeless clothing using sustainable production methods and materials to enable customers’ consciousness to rest easy with every purchase. Every garment is handmade with upcycled deadstock fabrics that would have otherwise gone to landfills. We also follow a made-to-order business model to ensure waste is kept to a minimum. Fabric scraps and side-cutting are used for smaller items like scrunchies and bucket hats.
Repurposing deadstock fabrics has its challenges since they are inherently limited in quantity which means limited production runs. It’s time-consuming in every stage of the production process, but it’s well worth it. I love that these limited fabrics are being leveraged to produce one-of-a-kind pieces that offer exclusivity and uniqueness.
I’m still learning every day. My brand values are to always consider the more responsible option available when it comes to creating my work.
There’s often a misconception about the term “deadstock” – but I want to make it clear that it’s not necessarily rendered unusable because it is defective or damaged. The brisk cycle of fast fashion encourages over-consumption and generates excessive waste. Unsold inventory sits in warehouses – this eventually contributes to the mounting spectre of textile pollution. It’s time for the fashion industry to find new, creative ways to tackle these issues and I hope to be a part of that positive change.
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’m from New Zealand so I would take them around my hometown – Wellington – the city is mesmerising. You’re surrounded by nature and fuelled by creative energy. It’s filled with stunning scenery, street art-filled laneways, local coffee culture and beautiful architecture.
The main activities I would fill our itinerary would be to take a hike up Mt Vic for a breathtaking view of the city, have a cheeky drink at our local craft beer at Garage Project, a delicious cup of flat white at Customs. Oh, and strolling along Cuba Street – is a must! A vibrant street filled with art, quirky cafes, vintage clothing, record stores – you get the picture. I love the idea of wandering aimlessly through this street, you always discover something new and exciting around every corner – it’s the perfect spot to explore your own creativity.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing, open-minded friends who have been a constant source of support. Despite the pandemic isolating everyone, my friends from the Kaka’ako community in Hawai’i still managed to find a way to creatively work together using their art as a form of solution to support each other. I want to dedicate this shoutout to my Kaka’ako fam who have followed my journey and uplifted one another – you know who you are and I love you all.
Photographers: Andrés Quigüa, Brenden Donahue, Mason Rose, Manelle Rose Models: Andrés Quigüa, Estelle Inès, Ela Ramirez, Reanna Chambers, Chris Miyashiro