That’s A-OK

It-girl Kiko Mizuhara and her sis­ter Yuka spread some hap­pi­ness and retro-hip with their newly launched, highly col­lab­o­ra­tive cloth­ing la­bel

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Trend -

When you’re hav­ing a stress­ful day and you look up at the sky, you chill out and feel bet­ter. So for this very pos­i­tive feel­ing and ef­fect, I wanted the sky and also the idea of the rain­bows — a sort of cute, happy el­e­ment, with lots of flow­ers, but­ter­flies, fruits and more. So de­sign­ing wasn’t that hard. I went through all the old Ja­panese mag­a­zines from the ’90s and had a feel­ing about the pat­terns we wanted to go for.”

The col­lec­tion is also very af­ford­able. “I know that many of my fans are young — say 12, 14, 16 or older — and they think be­cause I’m in high­fash­ion, it will be ex­pen­sive. But it’s not,” she says. I.T boss Sham Kar­wai, who last week was cel­e­brat­ing I.T’s 30th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions in Hong Kong, says that as long as Mizuhara con­tin­ues to make in­ter­est­ing pro­jects hap­pen, the re­tailer will be happy to sell OK on a per­ma­nent ba­sis. Part of Mizuhara’s cross­over ap­peal is that she spends half of her life hav­ing cou­ture im­posed upon her — and knows all too well the rig­ors of wear­ing it, mak­ing her en­tirely re­lat­able to her fans.

So what about the rig­ors of wear­ing a tra­di­tional Ja­panese yukata, some­thing Mizuhara in­cluded in her OK col­lec­tion. What’s her style ad­vice to a bunch of young Chi­nese girls who’ve never tried the idea be­fore? “Well, two ways,” she ex­plains. “It’s a whole set with three must-have items: the geta san­dals, the obi (sash) — which is like a corset — and the yukata. So first, buy the whole set and wear it once. It’s nice to try it once if you haven’t. Oth­er­wise, you should do it tra­di­tional, but mix it with ac­ces­sories. So wear the obi and yukata with heels, or try off-shoul­der and put a flip-dress un­der­neath. You can do what­ever you want!”

A tagline that reads like Mizuhara’s mantra. The sis­ters have cre­ated an ac­com­pa­ny­ing book that in­volves their Tokyo friends. “We wanted to make the book very spe­cial and artsy, with the art and visu­als be­ing very creative,” says Mizuhara. “So we used (Tokyo pho­tog­ra­pher) Monika Mogi; she’s my best friend and so tal­ented.”

All of which gives OK a col­lec­tive sense. “I think OK is like a plat­form for girls to have a feel­ing of be­long­ing and friend­ship, and I feel like we didn’t really have that feel­ing in Asia yet; it’s a sort of girl-power feel­ing to the brand,” says Mizuhara. With open­ings in Hong Kong, Tai­wan and China, OK is launch­ing in Indonesia and Thai­land soon. “So far, it’s been amaz­ing to see all of these girls en­joy­ing our prod­ucts and just be­ing them­selves.”

Mizuhara grew up in pre-In­sta­gram times read­ing mag­a­zines and be­ing se­duced by the life­style of what she saw. “I was in­spired by all the mod­els,” she says. “They were liv­ing a dif­fer­ent life and that’s what I’m try­ing to do now.”

Mizuhara has since launched a col­lab­o­ra­tion with iconic Ja­panese shoe brand Esper­anza. “It was su­per big in the late 1990s and early 2000’s in Ja­pan,” she says, not­ing the ten­dency for Ja­panese girls to wear big heels at that time. “It was really im­por­tant for fash­ion his­tory in Ja­pan but I think that whole move­ment was not ap­pre­ci­ated,” she says, “there­fore I wanted to fea­ture that and give it more prove­nance.” It’s also her way of en­cour­ag­ing young Tokyo girls to get more ex­per­i­men­tal and con­fi­dent in the way they dress. “So I’m do­ing this big col­lab­o­ra­tion with Esper­anza. And the girls in the cam­paign have that ghetto spirit. There aren’t many girls to­day who are really con­fi­dent in their look, they have low self-es­teem and con­fi­dence. And I feel that’s really sad. I want them to be bolder and more con­fi­dent.”

Mean­time, the ex­u­ber­antly con­fi­dent Mizuhara is in dis­cus­sions with Open­ing Cer­e­mony in Amer­ica about a project. “They want to do some­thing in Los An­ge­les,” she says. The New York out­let al­ready car­ries some of her OK prod­ucts. The mul­ti­fac­eted and much-in-de­mand icon­ista also men­tions up­com­ing pro­jects with a trans­gen­der artist in Thai­land, a po­ten­tial photo ex­hi­bi­tion and a book with sis­ter Yuka — they’re mid­way through record­ing a new al­bum to­gether — and even a project with Ja­panese mul­ti­me­dia artist Mariko Mori. From It-girl to in­fin­ity, the only thing stop­ping Mizuhara’s am­bi­tion is her agony of choices. “I don’t know ex­actly what OK will be or be­come, like an events plat­form or a life­style brand or a party venue, but I’m try­ing to con­nect all of the pieces in my head. But some­times it can be really hard to con­nect those ideas. The sky’s the limit.” Mean­time, there’s a bunch of wear­able hap­pi­ness wait­ing to come and for wouldbe Mizuhara’s the hits will keep com­ing. And that’s A-OK with us.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Mizuhara’s own la­bel, OK, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a pop-up store at I.T Blue Block in Cause­way, Hong Kong.

Kiko Mizuhara (mid­dle)

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