couture hat amsterdam


Yuki Isshiki

an introduction

Yuki on demure

My shop is in the centre of beautiful little Amsterdam, but not on a  shopping street so it’s never busy. I get to talk to my customers which  is kind of important as a hat maker, not least because it’s not easy to  choose a hat.

Most of the conversations with my customers start with ‘I  have a huge head’, which is most of the time NOT the case. ‘I never  look good in hat’, is also common, and is also most often UNTRUE. These comments come from lack  of knowledge on hats as accessories (which are there to make you look  and feel better) of maybe lack of confidence and I’m here to assist you  by making suggestions based on my professional knowledge or personal  experience, not based on my incentive to sell and make money (If I did  everything based on the last, it’s me who ends up with returned goods  covered in make up).

Because demure is a ‘hobby-for-life-turned-into-a-little-business’ kind  of shop, I truly enjoy the process of chatting for good hour or two about  what I make, how happy I was to find this rare fabric, how long it took  me to make all the details and why I think you look great in certain  shapes and colours. If you think about it, every colour and shape and  character should have at least one complimenting colour/shape/mood and  if you are refusing to believe it, it may actually come from somewhere  inside you. That I totally understand. I come from Japan, which happens  to be known to be a fashion capital amongst many other things but one  not-so-nice things is that there is this atmosphere that ‘You have to be  certain way if you belong to certain group’, which often causes  unnecessary sense of insecurity in vulnerable hearts.

I was not one of  the trendy kids, not mixing well, always on a chubby end (by insane  Japanese standard). So whenever I had to pick up any piece of garment  for myself, I had to pay so much attention to superdetails to ensure  that it does not look too horrible on me (everyone remembers this brutal  phrase ‘if you are skinny, everything looks nice on you’ and I was the complete opposite, so technically there was none/hardly anything which  would look good on me). This is not the happiest memory of my youth but  two nice things came out of it. One, I totally feel your tiniest  insecurity and I’m the last one to take advantage of it. Two, with all  the hard work of finding out exactly what can compliment a look in terms  of shapes and colours, I can address the tiniest details so you feel  ‘Ah, this works!’.

When I started this project, I wanted to call it ‘demure’ (in all small  letters please!) because to me, this is the status you can be in when  you are truly comfortable and confident. Like, ‘Yep, I’m cool, period.’  My grandmother was that person. In the 1980’s when all the wealthy old  ladies were clad in Versace and Leonard and said my nana was ‘modest’  (which translated ‘poor’) because she was wearing all the beiges and  greys, not even knowing brands such as Daks and Aquascutum or not being  familiar with concept of bespoke tailoring. Meanwhile my grandmother  would just let them gossip and stuck to her own style as she knew  everything about clothes after growing up in a family which traded in  kimono fabrics. My humble goal is to appreciate all my customers to decisions to give me  a chance and for sharing their wishes and make sure that they all feel  ‘demure’ when put on my pieces.

My most favourite moment is when I hear a  customer say ‘I wear this one all the time!’ When s/he brings back a  well-used piece for maintenance and repairs. Once I saw Yohji Yamamoto saying on a Japanese TV show ‘I never felt  that I lost to any other fashion designers but when I see a friend  grabbing his old tatty coat every winter as if he wouldn’t survive the  cold without it, I feel sheer sense of defeat’. I would love to make such a hat for you.

demure studio shop, Korte Marnixstraat 5, 1013 HT Amsterdam

demure studio shop, Korte Marnixstraat 5, 1013 HT Amsterdam