Based at the Yaccomaricard head office in Tokyo, Sei recently stepped up to take over the role of Managing Director from her mother Mariko Watanabe (the Mari of Yacco-Mari-Card), a daunting prospect given Mariko’s 44 year stint at the helm before retirement called.
What is your background in fashion?
I never actually studied fashion; my background is in textiles, specifically woven textiles. I studied at Central Saint Martins in London where I completed a BA in constructed textiles before going on to the Royal Academy for my MA.
I believe that fabric is the foundation of fashion and I love textiles as an art form.
I’ve worked in fashion for over 20 years, I used to scout up and coming European designers for our concept store in Tokyo called YSH, a real career highlight was bringing Paris based Polish designer Paulina Plizga to Japan.
Can you describe the Japanese aesthetic and why you think it has such an appeal?
I think the Japanese aesthetic lies in precision and detail. In terms of clothing, I believe that the Japanese aesthetic strives to improve upon what is there already so the product would suit every eventuality and that’s where the beauty is.
Its simplicity with hidden practicality. Each item has been mastered to
maximize the beauty of the object using traditional precise techniques.
What defines a Yaccomaricard piece?
The techniques that we hold are what create the defining character of our products.
The accumulation of experience and experimentation over many years has added to this and it’s a hard thing to replicate.
What is the starting point of each collection?
I’m inspired by what is happening around me, what I watched, what I saw, where I go. As we need to build a collection each season, this information and this feeling of being up to date and relevant are very important to that.
Please talk us through the inspiration behind the spring/summer collection.
We planned this collection back in 2020 when Japan was originally going to host the Olympic games. There was going to be a real vibrancy around it with so many different nationalities in one place, so this was going to be our homage to travel. Then Covid happened and changed everyone’s world, now we want to inspire customers with dreams of future travel and luxury stays in European cities. Our colour palette is inspired by the exotic places in and around the Mediterranean, warm shades like Valencia orange, bronze and turmeric contrast beautifully with jewel shades like emerald, and sapphire. We also worked with a dye palette based around gorgeous Santorini, so many hues of blue that make for a stunning contrast with white.
What are your collection highlights?
I love them all. I believe each piece has a place. I especially love our pintuck poncho shirt, I think it is bold and has a real air of sophistication, a very grown-up design.
What is your favourite piece of design?
Right now, my favourite piece is a café au lait bowl from the Villeroy & Boch, Petite Fleur collection. Every morning I have cereal from this bowl and it makes me so happy. My all-time favourite piece of design is the Kewpie doll, they are so sweet and quirky.
What do you see in the future for Yaccomaricard?
I believe what we are making is unique in every possible way. We have gained many committed fans of the brand over the years, people who really love our pieces. So I hope to build on that connection, I see them as little red dots on a map. My aim is to start many more dots of Yaccomaricard fans in each country and when you connect each one they will cover the entire world.