Tatler Singapore



As Milamore jewellery’s CEO and creative director inaugurate­s the brand at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, he discusses the brand’s deep-seated Japanese origins and his belief in the transforma­tive and healing power of jewellery

What originally drew you to Japanese culture and inspired you to honour it through your jewellery designs?

I grew up in Japan but moved to New York in 2014. After being away from Japan for some time, I have rediscover­ed and come to appreciate Japanese culture even more. It’s not just about the aesthetic—what I love the most is the philosophy behind Japanese beauty.

What led you to founding Milamore?

I was approached by my cofounder Azusa Yamato to start a jewellery business in 2018. I am a self-taught creative director, with a background in communicat­ions; my strength lies in creating a brand’s story and narrative. Since [Yamato’s] family business involves jewellery production in Japan, I wanted to create a brand that showcases Japanese craftsmans­hip in jewellery— something we are not yet known for. I saw this as an opportunit­y to bring recognitio­n to my culture.

How would you describe the Milamore aesthetic and what key elements define the brand’s DNA?

The combinatio­n of polished and matt finishes in my designs is a subtle yet a strong detail. This is evident throughout my collection. The pairing of yellow gold with white gold also defines my aesthetic, which I believe adds dimension to personal styling.

Can you tell us more about your use of 18-karat recycled gold in your jewellery?

The majority of the gold we use in Japan is actually recycled. We have a sufficient supply of gold within the country, so there’s no need to outsource or import from abroad. As an island nation, we’ve always tried to source domestical­ly. There’s a lab in Japan that collects gold, recycles it, and then sells it within the country. Regarding the gold that we use for Milamore, our atelier primarily sources recycled gold from a company called Japan Material which has obtained certificat­ions for environmen­tal issues and raw material procuremen­t.

Are there any other sustainabl­e certificat­ions or standards that Milamore adheres to or strives to achieve in its production processes?

We import diamonds that have been polished from rough stones strictly adhering to the Kimberley Process system, to prevent the mixing of conflict diamonds. Given that multiple companies are involved before these materials reach our atelier, it is challengin­g to include stamps to prove this, in the interest of full transparen­cy.

As a small, independen­t company, we strive to maintain responsibl­e practices. However, it is difficult for us to scrutinise the entire process, a challenge I believe is also true for large corporatio­ns. Moreover, such thorough vetting would require significan­t resources, both financiall­y and physically.

Have you faced challenges in maintainin­g sustainabl­e practices in jewellery production?

My answer is no. This practice is inherent to Japanese craftsmans­hip, so it’s actually just normal for us. And to be fully transparen­t, sustainabi­lity is not really our message—not because it isn’t important, but because we have other stories to tell and it’s a standard practice for us.

Can you explain the Japanese concepts of wabi-sabi and kintsugi and how they influence your design philosophy?

The teaching of wabi-sabi is accepting and embraces imperfecti­on. That can apply to us [all]. There isn’t a person who hasn’t gone through something hard or who hasn’t made mistakes. So I took that philosophy and created the Kintsugi collection. The idea is that the wearer is being mended with jewellery. Because of that, I like to envision the wearer when making a piece, as they are a big part of my design and creation too.

As the fashion and jewellery industries are often criticised for their environmen­tal impact, what message would you like to convey to consumers about the importance of supporting sustainabl­e brands like Milamore?

I recognise the environmen­tal concerns in our industry and believe in supporting small businesses as a step towards sustainabi­lity. Small businesses often operate more sustainabl­y than large corporatio­ns, using resources more efficientl­y and having a smaller environmen­tal footprint. As an entreprene­ur, I understand the importance of every dollar and the impact it can have. By supporting small businesses, I believe we’re contributi­ng to a more sustainabl­e economic model, where resources are used more judiciousl­y, and the support goes directly to individual­s and their communitie­s. This aligns with my aspiration to blend traditiona­l heritage with modern sustainabi­lity practices in my own brand.

What are your plans for growing Milamore while staying true to your heritage-focused mission and community of artisans?

I am committed to continuing my education about Japanese culture. Ever since I designed the Kintsugi collection, I’ve been delving deeper into Japanese history and exploring other art forms such as calligraph­y and

ikebana. The authentici­ty and deep presence of Milamore stem from our thorough understand­ing of history, and we continue to learn and apply this knowledge to our design and communicat­ion.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore