Interview with: folk made {Japan}

folk made
Greetings from Japan!
For this month’s blogpost I have interviewed Harumi Watanabe, founder and designer of Japanese label folk made. She’s sharing a bit of her inspiration, struggles and dreams in this post. I first met her at the Tokyo edition of Playtime last February and I was immediately drawn to her booth and especially to the big knitted stools that you will see below. Happy reading!

1. Please tell us a bit about your background, and how/ when did you start your label. What is your role at folk made?

After working for a Japanese label specializing in knitwear, I lived in France for three years, where I could do a lot of different things such as visiting museums, traveling, going to flea markets, learn about French language and culture… I was also the assistant designer for a French accessory label.
I started making children’s clothes little by little after my first baby was born. Then slowly I placed my creations in consignment in shops such as HP and it started to sell.
Nowadays I am doing everything on my own, from the design to the pattern making, realizing the sample collection as well as all the administration tasks. Folk made was founded in 2012.
folk made

2. How did you come up with the name ‘folk made’? Please give us 3 keywords that best describe your label.

folk made is about:
folklore: I am inspired by ethnic costumes and local handicrafts from the old days
natural product but with taste and texture
handmade: the love for handmade and pieces that will last for many years and bring a smile to your face
folk made

3. What inspires you when you create a collection? Your pieces have so many cute details , what is usually initiating the process?

The process starts with a collection of keywords that are inspiring me, then moves to the coordination of color combinations that have caught my eyes in the everyday life – for example in children’s painting… Once I have collected bits of inspiration I start looking for fabric swatches that are similar to the color combination I have in mind. Lastly I work on the samples.
folk made
folk made

4. Do you make the clothes yourself or do you have a factory producing the pieces?

I am in charge of the design as well as pattern making and sewing the sample pieces.
Starting from the Fall / Winter 2016 collection, I will work with a factory in Japan to produce the pieces.
folk made

5. Do you involve your daughter at some point in the creative process?

Of course! I might not have started a children’s label if I didn’t have a daughter. Since I want her to wear the clothes I am creating, she gets involved in the process of each collection, from trying on the sample to modelling for the catalogue. I could also get inspired by something she draws and make a pattern from it.
She also hand wrote the brand logo.
folk made

6. Where can we buy folk made?

From Fall/ Winter 2016 folk made will be sold in 11 stores in Japan as well as one store abroad.
Local stores in Japan are for example: Elf Kids market (in Tokyo) or une plume (in Kobe)
folk made

7. What are you struggling most with?

Pattern-making can be challenging at times!
folk made

8. Do you attend any trade fairs other than Playtime Tokyo?

Not yet.

folk made

9. What is your biggest dream for folk made?

It would be fantastic to have our children’s collection as well as our furniture design all showcased in one store to better translate what our brand is about.

Note from the editor: all the wooden furnitures you see on the pictures are handmade by Harumi’s husband himself!
folk made

10. What are you favorite Japanese brands for kids that the rest of the world should know about?

cokitica (コキチカ)


To discover more about the world of folk made, you can browse their website, and follow them on Facebook or Instagram!

folk made

Thank you so much Marie for this great interview!




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