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.