Tell me about your fashion line….
Takaokami is my collection of feminine bike-friendly rain wear. It’s is made of water resistant material and is designed with feminine elements. The distinct aspect is that the rain wear is bike friendly, for example the riding skirt is longer in the front than in the back so it will cover the legs but not get caught in the chain.
What inspired you to create your rain gear?
I had an internship for about 6 months and needed to ride my bike about 45 minutes one way through the rain and winter weather. Each day after my ride I spoke with other designers about the fact that there was no rain wear that had a feminine look and design to it. We were all getting wet and not looking feminine at the same time. So I decided that I would create some feminine bike-friendly rain wear.
I often think that the road to creative ideas is found in our own frustration. I was frustrated with the lack of feminine bike-friendly rain wear while at the same time trying to come up with my final project for design school. The answer was combining the two and creating my own clothing line.
How were your designs inspired?
I spent some time in Japan and was truly inspired by the way they design their rain wear. It rains quite a bit there and the first time it rained I was amazed at what people were wearing. I didn’t just see utilitarian style rain wear but a wide range of styles including feminine designs. They truly embraced beauty and style in both their rain gear and umbrellas.
When I returned from Japan I was determined to make better rain gear for women so I started studying what people’s pain points were. I watched where the rain was hitting as I rode my bike. I thought through all of the different aspects of what it means to cycle in the rain and tried to design rain gear with this in mind. I then added simple details to the gear to make it more fashionable.
How has your background prepared you for this?
I grew up drawing and my home was always filled with art and crafts. We were encouraged as children to create with our hands. As I got older this turned into a love for art and costume design. I truly love fashion, I love a good pair of high heels but I also love the practical side of clothing. The rain wear is a great combination of fashion and practicality.
What is inspiring you right now?
Honestly, this interview is. I’ve worked for so many years on this clothing line and it’s so nice that people genuinely want to hear about it. When I was at fashion week in Vancouver, Canada I did three interviews about my clothing so it’s so encouraging to know that people are interested in what I’m doing.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses. I’m a designer but I struggle with the business side of things so I really need the help of my business parter Nikolaj to make this happen. We should all be willing to work with those who have other strengths and disciplines. This is the best way to make our ideas happen.
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