The 88 Regent Street pop-up edit for sustainability:
4649.REC joins a collective of 6 brands to champion alternative consumption on 88 Regent Street with a dedicated space for sustainability, ethical consumption and conscious fashion.
“This area has always been the key place for any Japanese visitors and residents in the UK, and it is an honour to be taking part in this initiative. We are looking forward to connecting with a wider audience and showcase that we can look good while caring for people and the planet.”
Yumi Sakaki, The founder/designer of 4649.REC
Why Regent Street?
With its regal architecture and central placement in West London’s shopping district, Regent Street is one of the most famous shopping streets in London. Regent Street has been a significant landmark known for its impressive portfolio of designer brands and stores. The street is visited by approximately more than 7.5 million people a year. All wanting to shop and browse.
Here’s why the pop-up store on 88 Regent Street is vital to the revolution of ethical fashion. 1 Roof shared by 6 sustainable fashion brands is the beginning of a change. Imagine this: the pop-up store is a window of opportunity to veer into future consumption and envision the high street solely operating on independent and sustainable fashion wellness brands.
– Bob Dawson, Head of Regent Street at the Crown Estate
What we offer: On-site customisation
Meaningful, shared and reconnecting to our roots is what we at 4649.REC value. The store has tailored a personal and dedicated shopping experience giving the opportunity to explore our one-off pieces designed by 4649.REC. Not only that, but we also treasure the practice of upcycling and the spirit of mending to reinvent clothes for another cycle of use. Therefore, we have on-site customisation at our pop-up store. If you have clothes in need of a revamp, then you will definitely want to visit and consult with us. From previous customisation workshops with the Fashion District Festival, it is great fun interacting with people and a shared learning experience on how we consume. We invite all to come and learn about how we can practice sustainability in our daily lives.
What makes us special as a sustainability brand:
Everything is made from upcycled kimono and traditional Japanese garments. No two are the same and have their own distinct story. Just ask Yumi, our designer and creative director of 4649.REC.
It is imperative to come and explore as soon as possible as this collective of sustainable brands is here only until the 27th of October and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to connect with us.
Come celebrate the 5-day Fashion District Festival running from 22nd-26th September with us to advocate sustainability and innovation.
Grow, Watch, Make and Shop:
The festival will be an opportunity to experience an intimate and interactive event that will give you a chance to see what positive changes in the fashion future can look like for all of us. Under the umbrella of RETURE, we 4649.REC are among other designers who will be providing intimate
The purpose of the festival is to uplift and highlight designers from diverse backgrounds pursuing fashion business with sustainability in mind. This was touching the surface of creative possibilities of upcycling fabric into something else. Upcycling, Reusing and Re-focusing is a great way to reconnect with our choices and stories behind them.
We will show you how to revamp your clothes using patchwork with our beautiful collection of vintage kimono fabrics leftover from our production. Yumi, our founder and designer, will be conducting the ‘MAKE’ Workshop and expressing her own aptitude for repairing clothes with a Japanese twist. You can find us running a workshop with the fashion district festival showing you how to repair and transform your clothes as you give them a second lease of life. You can also find a selection of our upcycled kimono pieces at the RETURE marketplace stand, located in Westfield Stratford shopping centre.
We aim to inspire the use of upcycling, recycling and reusing one-time cultural garments into our everyday life as effortless streetwear with a hint of attitude and a Japanese spin on your wardrobe.
Spaces are very limited so get your tickets now and join us for your journey to REconnect with your roots, don’t miss this chance to RE-think, RE-construct and RE-style your wardrobe.
We believe in building a sustainable community based on our own values of RE-creating what our history and culture mean through our dress. Through patchwork and MAKING together, we can figure out a future that will sustain both the environment and humanity, this workshop is one step in achieving that.
Check out our previous collaberations
‘Say ‘I DO’, the sustainable way @ RESELLFRIDGES with RETURE’, The stunning bridal gown is now on display and available for sale at our new pop-up store at 88 Regent Street.
What we have on next:
‘The 88 Regent Street pop-up edit’– Onsite customisations and one-of-a-kind upcycled kimono pieces available for you to purchase right now at 88 Regent Street, come to say hi.
No more ‘Bridezilla’ with our sustainable brands matching you with your dream dress:
RETURE with RESELLFRIDGES have come together in a special union with a sustainable Wedding pop-up collection, that ran from 2nd August to 5th September. And we, 4649.REC were invited to add to the edit with our own customised, upcycled kimono pieces. As RETURE’s in-store designers, we invited customers to witness how we transform garments and how they could be re-customised, reimagined and reused for your special day.
Getting passionate with our sustainability aims: What started our love affair with upcycling and RETURE
RETURE launched online in November 2020 as the world’s first fashion upcycling platform. RETURE’s aims are to encourage upcycling and sustainable fashion. This collaboration was about exploring a circular retail model and a part of Selfridges shift into navigating sustainable efforts in consumption. A hopeful and exciting step in the right direction for fashion and retail giants.
Our one-of-a-kind pieces were lovingly made using upcycled kimono handed down to Yumi, our creative designer and founder, and this is how we have reimagined a beautiful mix of traditional Japanese apparel into wedding attire:
Love for the future: Our aims for ethical consumption
On average, 30% of our clothing in wardrobes has been left untouched for at least a year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme. Not to mention, that 350,000 tonnes of wearable clothing go to landfills in the UK every year.
RETURE’s collaboration with us was a green initiative taken on with creativity on behalf of Selfridges’ goals to commit to a greener and circular mode of experiencing fashion.
Here’s how you can champion it:
Buy with conscious materials in mind: look for organic, all-natural fabrics like cotton, silk, wool and try to avoid fabrics containing elastane.
Get thrifty: find Ethical sources and shop locally, this benefits your community and helps build a sustainable practice.
Re-purpose, Re-cycle and upcycle your own clothes: grab some of your loved-up clothes that have seen better days and start your own DIY project and get creative.
What we have on next: The Regent Street Edit
Running from the 3rd of September we will be joining 6 other brands on 88 Regent Street where you can come find our pop-up store. We believe in a slow, circular fashion and welcome you to join our personal and tailored shopping experience. We have onsite customisations available for you and our one-of-a-kind pieces made from upcycled kimonos that could be yours.
Kaori designs bespoke dresses, hats and accessories and we have been a big fan of Kaori’s creations for years – because of her vintage couture is characterised by its unique combination of 1950s Hollywood glamour with Japanese influences. To celebrate the release of these pieces, we have interviewed her to learn more about her brand, vision, inspiration and creative process.
4649.REC: How and when did you get into designing dresses, hats and accessories? Could you tell me more about your background?
Kaori: I originally came to London to study business. I began working in the travel industry, but I always had a passion for fashion and art so I eventually decided to study dressmaking. I started designing women’s clothes and selling them online on Etsy. I find creating to be very therapeutic. Having become a mother, I also began selling children’s clothing and accessories online as well as in physical markets.
4649.REC: Your couture style combines vintage glamour and Japanese influences. Could you tell me more about how this came about and how you manage to reconcile both elements?
Kaori: I get my inspiration from the vintage style and the fabrics I find. I learned the pleating, ruching and draping process in London and love using Japanese chirimen* to create one-off vintage style one-off dresses.
4649.REC: What inspired you to begin upcycling these fabrics from Japan and how do you acquire these fabrics?
Kaori: Originally, my mother and my aunt gave me their old Kimono and Obi belts that they no longer used. I began upcycling because I love the beautiful design and colours of kimonos. Each piece is made with silk and such intricate Japanese craftsmanship that I believe these pieces of wearable art should be treasured and kept, even if it is under a different form. When I make caps, I usually upcycle plastic bottles for laundry liquid to create the brim, but lately I have found it harder to find because people around me don’t use it any more (which is good thing). So unfortunately, at the moment, I am still searching for sustainable materials to upcycle for the brim.
4649.REC: Could you tell me a bit more about the pieces, which came out of this partnership?
Kaori: Yumi handed leftover fabric from a beautiful Obi Belt and I fell in love with the colours. I’ve always liked the combination of Japanese colourful design and denim so I thought upcycling denim and the Obi belt should be perfect.
4649.REC:: Do you have a specific audience in mind when you create your pieces?
Kaori: Anyone who likes to dress differently from others, as each piece is unique and one of a kind. Anyone who understands the beauty of old Japanese design, and the importance of recycling and upcycling.
4649.REC: Lastly, what would you say is the key message behind your pieces? How do you contribute to the sustainable fashion movement?
Kaori: When I create my pieces, I strive to highlight the beauty of old fabric that was created through elaborate craftsmanship and to reduce waste as much as possible in my creations.
Usually, I acquire my fabric online, meaning I can only imagine what the person who wore it was like, so using fabric from Yumi’s family and knowing the person with whom the fabric was associated was truly an honour.
Isaak Ayo was founded in 2013, when designer Rickardo’s son Isaac Ayo Mascarenhas Reynolds was born. All Isaak Ayo bags and T-shirts are ethically made in London, using recycled (and mostly organic) fabrics such as upcycled kimono silk, wood felt, organic cotton and bamboo.
Before creating Isaak Ayo, from the 1990s to 2005 Rickardo used to run his own clothing business “BOK” with a friend. BOK sold clubwear at Portobello Market, and Camden Market and sold wholesale to shops around the UK, Germany and Miami. When clubwear died down, Rickardo became a landscape gardener before deciding to co-create ethical T-shirt label “Organik Rocka” with a partner in 2005. Facing difficulties in a long-term friendship and business partnership, Rickardo decided to begin anew in 2013, boosted by the energy and inspiration provided by his newborn son.
4649.REC: Your main collection is the “World Series Collection”, which intends to represent your love of traveling. Would you say your creations are also reflective of your cultural background?
Rickardo: The “World Series Collection” as a whole is not reflective of my cultural background, as a lot of the fabrics I use are from Japan. However, I am increasingly using fabrics from West Africa because although my parents are from Jamaica, our ancestry is mainly from West Africa.
4649.REC: Isaak Ayo creates bags made from upcycled, and natural fabrics, particularly bags from upcycled kimonos. How did you get the idea to start upcycling?
Rickardo: I had actually worked with upcycled products before I had started my own brand. My first job was actually working for a small company, which made jackets from upcycled leather jackets, jeans and silk scarves. Years later, I started making backless Kimono from silks. I bought a deconstructed kimono, but there was not enough fabric, so I followed my wife’s suggestion to make a tote bag instead. That’s how my bag collection began.
4649.REC: How would you say your brand has evolved over the years in terms of vision, particularly over the COVID-19 period?
Rickardo: My brand has developed over the years. From tote bags and T-shirts, My product range has continually increased from tote bags and T-shirts originally, my latest and most successful pieces are backpacks and cardholders. I intend to continue to expand the product range, to eventually include clothing.
Over time, I have also expanded my online presence. During COVID, my orders increased a lot in the UK and the USA. However, orders from Europe decreased significantly after Brexit.
4649.REC: How do you usually acquire the kimono fabric, which you use in your bags?
Rickardo: At the moment I acquire my fabric online, but I hope to one day go to Japan and bring back a load of old Kimono.
4649.REC: Yumi fell in love with your creations on Instagram and decided to reach out to you for a collaboration based on an exchange of fabric: you provided the indigo blue cotton fabric from Gambia for 4649.REC’s Haori top, which matches your backpack, while Yumi provided you with the leftover fabric from the Gold Katana co-ords. which came from Yumi’s mother, so you could create a matching bag. Could you tell me a bit more about the one-off pieces, which came out of this partnership?
Rickardo: This partnership is great because we both have a love for sustainable fashion, fabrics from Africa, and fabrics from Japan, particularly Kimono fabric, and Obi*. In this collection, we used an Obi that belonged to Yumi’s mother, which she used to create the Gold Katana camouflage co-ords. The fabric was perfect to create a matching clutch bag. Using the indigo blue cotton fabric from Gambia from which created a backpack, Yumi created a Haori top. In order to create the backpack, the fabric had to be interfaced and reinforced to give it body and durability. I also added upcycled leather to the bottom of the backpack for protection.
This collaboration was a really interesting experience. Usually, I acquire my fabric online, meaning I can only imagine what the person who wore it was like, so using fabric from Yumi’s family and knowing the person with whom the fabric was associated was truly an honour. After exchanging the fabrics, Yumi and I discussed what type of pieces we would create, but neither of us knew exactly what the other had in mind. In the end, we both love each other’s creations.
4649.REC: What is your creative process like? What inspires you?
Rickardo: My creative process is a bit chaotic; I tend to start many projects simultaneously. I am inspired by what my eyes take in everyday. I look at everything, especially when I’m walking with my headphones on. I also love people watching, which is a good way of seeing what people are into. Being able to come up with an idea in my head and actually create it, brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. I have noticed that when I’m not creating, my stress level goes up.
When I have an idea, I draw or write it down, then it goes through a few changes before I begin the actual crafting process. Once I have created a bag, I try to see how it can be improved by having my wife or friends test them out and give their feedback on wearability, durability and design. Their, sometimes brutal, honesty is really helpful.
Ultimately, I want to demonstrate that sustainable doesn’t have to mean boring.
4649.REC: More generally, what would you say is the main challenge in sustainable fashion becoming mainstream?
Rickardo: I think sustainable fashion will become more mainstream when large companies realise they can make money from it, but I think consumers need to change their buying habits, to force large companies to change. When we buy, we need to focus on quality, rather than quantity. We should also support environmentally friendly independent brands. Small brands may become big one day.
4649.REC: What would you say is the key message behind your pieces? How do you contribute to the sustainable fashion movement?
Rickardo: I am trying to create sustainable bags from natural and biodegradable sustainable sources. For instance, I do not use plastic in any of my bags or packaging. I look at my bags as little pieces of art, mixed with the art of the original fabric maker. I love upcycling fabrics because of their history. Some of the pieces I use are over seventy years old, and still in great condition. Upcycling is the way forward: we have to re-use as much as we can, if we want to protect the planet. Ultimately, I want to demonstrate that sustainable doesn’t have to mean boring.
June 2021 marks the 51st anniversary of Pride Month. Every year, since 1969, during the month of June, the LGBTQIA+ community celebrates in various ways from parades and festivals to events and public speaking. More than a celebration, Pride Month provides the opportunity to bring awareness to important issues the community is facing.
What is Pride Month and why does it take place in June?
On an early morning of June 28, 1969, in Manhattan, New York, the Stonewall Inn was raided by the police. Greenwich Village was an area known to be home to sizeable gay and lesbian populations. Gay bars being illegal in the 1950s and 60s, very few places welcomed gay people and those which did were often run by organized crime groups. The Stonewall Inn, for one, was owned by the Mafia. Such bars were routinely raided. However, violence escalated during the Stonewall Raid and sparked a wave of protests several evenings in a row. The protests led to the formation of organized activist groups, calling for the creation of places where they could embrace their sexual orientation without fear. The riots served as a catalyst for the LGBT liberation movement in the United States.
How can you embrace Pride Month by experimenting with gender neutral clothing?
Unisex and non-binary clothing strive to challenge gender norms. Looking to adopt a more gender neutral closet and transgress the boundaries through fashion? You can personalize your clothing to push back boundaries and achieve your ideal, authentic look through up-cycling and customization of all sorts (dyeing, embroidery, tailoring..). Let us help you experiment with a wide range of colors and patterns, using upcycled kimono fabrics – they are full of colours and nature themed prints which speak to us all.
Overall, despite the progress which has already been made, we must continue to increase awareness and support inclusiveness. In some places like Japan, LGBTIQ+ people are still not protected from discrimination by the law. This June the LGBT Equality Act should be adopted. However, it is contested by LGBTIQ+ advocacy groups who denounce the lack of enforceable protections contained in the bill, which only requires an “understanding of LGBT people”. More generally, as a result of discrimination, homophobia and transphobia and the rejection which may be experienced after coming out, individuals in the LGBTIQ+ community are at increased risk of mental health problems such as depression, self-harm and substance abuse. A study by Stonewall underlined that, in the UK, ⅛ LGBTIQ+ people between 18 and 24 and half of trans people attempted to take their life. Committed to inclusion and wellbeing for all, 4649.REC donates a portion of its proceeds to mental health Mind.
Looking for some new unique and sustainable summer outfits? Look no further than RETURE boutique, a marketplace for sustainable brands offering a 10% discount for newcomers until May 31. Shop our products on RETURE boutique now.
Founded in March 2020, RETURE is the only marketplace for upcycled fashion. As a part of the upcycling movement, RETURE intends to extend the life of garments, promote human craft in an increasingly digital era and celebrate local creative talents. Indeed, each designer featured on RETURE creates pieces using different material, which gives them their identity.
Upcycling is reusing (discarded garments or materials) in order to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
Entrenched in the ideas of slow fashion, upcycling intends to create a more circular fashion industry, reducing waste and emphasizing craft and creativity. Rather than mass production, short-lived trends and disposable garments, upcycling intends to repurpose and embellish existing materials to create memorable, unique and sustainable pieces. Upcycling attributes clothing an emotional, rather than simply economic value.
At first, you might be skeptical at the idea of upcycling their wardrobes. However, usually after the first try, you fall in love with the creative process and proud of the results. How come?
By reclaiming the creative process and creating your own pieces, you get to have something no one else owns. You can customize clothing sleeping in your wardrobe and create the pieces you have long sought-after and you can be sure of their quality.
The upcycling process also allows you to learn about design and develop new craftsmanship skills.
By using reclaimed materials, you are protecting the planet and preventing exploitation of garment workers in the fast fashion industry, one upcycled garment at a time.
As our founder/designer Yumi described when she explained the process of repurposing her mother’s kimonos, upcycling allows you to reconnect with yourself and potentially your cultural heritage, but also to create new ties with your loved ones and your community. Clothes are valuable because they are intimately linked with our memories. They carry stories. Whether you are upcycling your garments or those of your loved ones, the repurposed pieces will carry a special meaning, which you can proudly wear.
Want to help us make upcycling more mainstream in the fashion industry? Get on board with the RETURE movement and let’s make change together!
As a result of COVID-19 pandemic has and the use of single-use masks, over 1.6 billion face masks being discarded in UK landfills every months. We believe protecting ourselves also means protecting the planet. Therefore, 4649.REC has released a free DIY reusable fabric face mask pattern, which you can download and follow to create your own face mask.
Not a fan of sewing? We also have simplified the process with this No-Sew DIY Face Cover Kit, which includes upcycled materials like kimono fabric and elastic bands from our London studio. In this short tutorial video, we guide you through the steps to create your own no-sew DIY face mask. Soon, you’ll want to start using your own upcycled materials to create personalized gifts for your loved ones.
Looking for some inspiration before you begin? You can check out 4649.REC’s upcycled face mask collection. Once you have created your mask, don’t forget to share it on Instagram using the hashtag #myupcycledmask and tag @4649.REC to join the movement to protect ourselves and our beloved planet, one mask at a time.
The following haiku was written by our teammate Christina* in honor of Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16th May), we wanted to acknowledge how the COVID-19 pandemic has deteriorated mental health globally.
May 9th is also Mother’s Day in Japan. During lockdown, founder/designer Yumi began disassembling her mother’s kimonos, which helped her reconnect with her family, her cultural heritage but also herself in these times of isolation. Our interest in sparking meaningful interpersonal and cross-cultural dialog means we cannot overlook how differently cultures deal with mental health issues. While mental health has become less taboo in many Western cultures in recent years, in Japan mental health continues to carry a stigma, which further burdens victims and their loved ones.
In Japanese society, struggling with mental health is conceived as something shameful because it represents an inability or a lack of willpower to control oneself. In that sense, the expectation is that patients or their families, rather than professionals, should deal with these issues. Though treatments are available, nearly two-thirds of patients never seek out professional help.
In the face of rising suicide rates, Tetsushi Sakamoto was named as Japan’s first Minister for Loneliness by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Indeed, in October 2020, Japan experienced a 70% increase in female suicides alone. Similarly to the UK, Japan has adopted measures to address loneliness amidst the pandemic.
The WHO reported that over 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide, but many do not receive treatment due to stigma, discrimination, and neglect.
As lockdown comes to an end in the UK, Japan’s situation is a kind reminder that COVID-19 is a global issue and we must keep exercising compassion and looking out for one another.
In July 2020, a KFF Health Tracking Poll reported the stress associated with the pandemic was prompting negative impacts on wellbeing including difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%). In the long-run, the pandemic also increases exposure to isolation and job loss, which are associated with poor mental health outcomes.
Between March 2020 and February 2021, in the UK loneliness rose from 10 to 26%. Even during the summer of 2020, when most restrictions were lifted, reported loneliness did not return to its pre-lockdown levels.Combating loneliness is crucial for mental health because human connections provide us emotional support and allow us to cope better. In February 2021, 13% of surveyed UK adults reported having thoughts about suicide in the previous two weeks, an increase of 5 points from April 2020.
* “A writer with a tendency to look at human fallibility and the emotions that haunt us, Christina Sophie Tring is a poet and prose writer that is focusing on multiple projects this year to build her catalogue of work”
As the lockdown has been eased throughout the UK, we are excited to be back in Lone Design’s Club (LDC)’s latest pop-up in Islington Square. With its local, ethical and sustainable food and produce market happening between Fri-Sun, this beautiful and lively neighborhood of North London is ideal for a weekend stroll.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a giant post office was built on Islington’s Upper Street. This beautiful baroque monument spreading over 15700m2 hosts a variety of botanical markets, creative community spaces, pop-up bookshops and independent retailers such as Lone Design Club.
Established in 2018, LDC strives to promote conscious fashion by connecting consumers to ethical and independent fashion and lifestyle brands with traceable practices and one of a kind items. You can shop our products* on the Lone Design Club website. This pop-up showcases our one-off pieces celebrating cultural heritage, diversity and meaningful conversations.
Rooted in the spirit of exchange and correspondence, stories continue to pass through Islington Square, no longer through letters and packages, but through creative and unique events, which bring together residents and newcomers alike.