You know that surprising experience you have when two people meet and just like some magnetic force, they attract instantly? Well that’s exactly what happened when we visited Mami Nakatani, mother of leather and accessory brand “emamima”, at her atelier where we reunited with her after our first encounter at Tokyo Design Week's Professional Exhibition Booth last fall.
The outcome? As soon as we entered and reminisced on her exhibition at TDW, we fell straight into Alice and Wonderland’s rabbit hole, where she explained to us about her past works, her journey as an artist, and her aspirations. What was roughly imagined to be an hour-or-so of our loose-ended “Cup of Joe” interview turned out to be a passionate discussion that when we checked to see the time, we had spent 5 straight hours non-stop!
But perhaps that explains the true depth of her brand “emamima”. The minimal aesthetics that you see in her works is a result of her deep research into each material, shape, and color in unison with her journey and discovery of herself as an artist.
Here are 5 interesting finds about her, along with Kaoru’s doodle records of the stories behind some of her products.
• Her first opportunity to experience life outside of Japan as an exchange student, where she surprisingly felt comfortable and much more relaxed in the openness of the culture. This experience strengthened her dream to work in the art industry.
• A new chapter for emamima. Being selected as a professional designer for TDW, she was finally able to overcome her hesitation as an artist without an elite art education background. (In Japan, the people often determine the level of your work by the school you graduated from.)
• Her brand name comes from an encounter in London, where she met an artist named Emma in Portobello Market. Reminiscing on this experience, she put "ema" (Japanese pronunciation of Emma) and her name "Mami" together to form the brand name "emamima".
• She feels "Iwakan", discomfort as an artist working in Japan, where every artwork/products tends to be put into a specific category such as the style, the target group, and item type.
• Her family runs a french cuisine restaurant where she had a short stint as a buyer for the interior decoration before becoming an artist.
[WOOD PUNK] bracelets
Cup of Joe's
Sharing perks of people we meet over a cup of Joe.