Owa Yukira was founded in London by Japanese mother-daughter duo, Yuki and Yuriko Oshima.
Our story began soon after our daughter and granddaughter, Honor, was born. We wanted clothing which valued children as independent young people, and we wanted to take play seriously. Instead, much of the childrenswear we encountered was mass-produced, overly gendered, or too precious for active bodies. We believe that children notice the details. They are dancers and painters, thinkers and tree-climbers, storytellers and cartwheelers.
Our roots are in Japan and this is embodied in every piece of cloth we cut. We feel proud to share this heritage of deep care with a global community. Our clothing is meticulous about detail, from the perspective of the parent and the child: we won’t compromise on design or production, on wearability or washability. In our materials, as in our daily lives, we turn to nature wherever we can. We believe that high quality clothing can be a central part of a more imaginative philosophy for the people who create the future.
Like many women, Yuki’s first fashion influence was her mother. Yuriko stood out on the school run in her distinctive, avant-garde clothing. She was a colour-consultant and alive to shape and form, and–perhaps most important of all–she paid attention to the quality of her daughter’s clothes too. Yuriko taught Yuki to care about those details which elevate the everyday, the way the colours shade or the fabric drapes. As a child, Yuki wore Japanese designs from the likes of Comme des Garçons. Admittedly, this made her feel a little self-conscious at times. But it also cultivated independence, an appreciation of quality, and a sense that style could be play.
After she left Japan, Yuki studied and travelled around the world. The diversity of her experiences continues to inspire Owa Yukira’s outlook: she has worked in fashion and journalism, gaining perspective as a businesswoman and a creative, in London and New York, and back to Tokyo. In global cities, Yuki came to see the value of her roots: the mindful and playful Japanese approach to nature and creation. She could see, too, that she wasn’t alone. Even in the most cosmopolitan places, there were communities of others who sought to reconnect to quality and simplicity.
When Yuki had a daughter, Honor, these experiences came together with a new sense of purpose. As a mother and a grandmother, Yuki and Yuriko wanted childrenswear which valued a child’s style and independence, and they knew that this wouldn’t mean pink frilly dresses. (Not every day, anyway.) Owa Yukira was formed to inspire care, self-expression, and playfulness, in the creative minds of the future.