Posted on Leave a comment

Sustainable Living: “It’s not you, but us” 

Mission Impossible? 

We say absolutely not – if we focus our efforts on reframing how we produce, organise and eliminate excess waste from our current modes of production. 

A circular economy is a framework that strives to eradicate waste by designing to reuse and reintroduce. It isn’t about individual responsibility, it is about building a collective understanding and awareness of a larger problem.

There are 3 Pillars to a circular economy:

  • Eliminating waste and pollution by design
  • Designing waste into recycling materials 
  • Regenerating natural systems

Think of a circle – observe how it is a loop and not a linear line. That is essentially how the economy should be designed to function. Materials are introduced, used, then recycled into their basic components to be re-introduced into production. 

So, what does a circular economy look like in Fashion?

A garment is designed to be apparel, at the end of its life it is stripped down to its basic fabrics to be recycled into a bag. The bag at the end of its life will be further recycled into the soles of a shoe. When the shoe has reached the end of its life, where does it go? Back to the producers where the basic components will be reverted back to the original fibre where the process starts again. 

Why all the hassle now? 

The world went through what the New York Times described as the ‘Pandemic Decluttering’. Everyone was forced to look in and make room for work, leisure and breathing spaces all within our homes. This resulted in people excavating receipts, appliance boxes and clothes that have been untouched by last summer’s trend. 

“Spring cleaning” – Our take on a REfresh

It’s become more clear now than ever that as creatures of habits we have some unpacking to do when it comes to making space for the current by repurposing and questioning the hoarded skeletons that have resided in our closets for decades and if they really need to be there.

We have finite resources, finite space in landfills and finite time in making efforts to revive the environment. The best step in the right direction is to consciously buy/mend and source with longevity in mind.

Reality check: We have ways before we make it to this much of an efficient arrangement as money, time and resources for this kind of operation are scarcely delegated with seriousness due to business competition. But in comparison to awareness 10 years ago, we have made huge steps as a whole in the right direction. 

Too much to take in?

The mission is possible if we invest in systems that design an ongoing loop that feeds itself to avoid excessive waste. And that can start from simple daily habits like:

  • Donate to thrift stores and charity shops 
  • Check the garment care labels on the garment and opt for  materials that aren’t mixed with polyester.
  • Get crafty with DIY mending – you can organise a mending group with your friends over tea, or hop onto apps like Sojo to find a tailor near you to ensure that something perfectly valuable isn’t discarded.
  • Set your washing machine at low temperatures (30 degrees advised) to save energy.

What about personal responsibility?

Oftentimes, consumer responsibility is used as a marketing strategy to alleviate the responsibility of 20 companies who contribute to 55% of the world’s plastic waste. These companies are a collective of Chemical, Oil and Gas giants. But amidst the helplessness, there is still hope as people, (including you and us) have been working towards alternative ways of consuming, this can look like supporting local independent businesses. Or, upcycling, mending, recycling. As a population, there has been a steady movement in changing our relationship with buying and overconsuming.

The 4649.REC way:

Our approach to design around wastefulness is to REinvent the old by upcycling old kimonos sleeping in Japanese households for multiple generations. Emotional design is a driving principle for the clothes we make which have the purpose of finding a positive chord to REConnect a preloved item with a new owner who will continue their story. This is a way to design waste away as a form of REsurrecting through RECycling.

Our ethos is RECycle, REvive and REConnect stories within the items we have and give them a new journey to be continued to the next generation and beyond, and we invite you to be part of our journey. Browse through our designs to see how the life of reclaimed kimono fabric has been reimagined by us.

Posted on Leave a comment

Spreading love & sustainably with Tatoushi Kimono paper

Have you noticed our products come parcelled in a rich heavy paper, and wondered where it’s coming from? 

This is called “Tatoushi”, a kimono storage wrapper made from Japanese Washi paper, which is used to preserve, package and protect kimonos.

The washi paper packaging is made with the utmost care, sometimes you can feel or see herbal flecks on the outside layer – this is to protect the garment from moths and critters attracted to the natural silk packaged inside. Some even use essential oils for extra protection. 

This is how kimonos have been kept in good condition tucked away in our wardrobes for decades without ever being worn again. There are an estimated 800 million kimonos sleeping in the cupboards of modern-day Japanese households and that is why we began REpurpose and REinvent how we honour pre-loved kimonos in our modern daily lifestyle. 

Do you have Kimonos to donate? Or want to get in touch? Connect with us here

What is it made from?

Fibre isn’t just good for your health but also makes for strong paper – pulp such as Kozo (mulberry), gampi or hemp is distributed in the paper mould so the fibres intertwine and pressurise to make for a stronger almost fabric-like material. 

The REC way: REusing Tatoushi to wrap our products

The great thing about paper is that it can be RECycled, UPcyled and REinvented: one of our favourite ways to champion Tatoushi paper is to use it as wrapping paper for our large items, as well as price tags and some stationery products.

And sometimes we use it to craft beautiful origami art that honours traditional Japanese forms.

We have greeting cards that feature Tatoush cranes:

Midori Moss Aloha shirt and matching Tatoushi greeting card

These unique shapes and values are speckled throughout our story as reminders of the philosophy and symbolism behind our Japanese-centric ethos. 

Origami crane to celebrate and bring prosperity to the New Year  :

Setsubun marks the seasonal division when Spring start in Japan where “Mamemaki” (bean throwing) is used to deter evil spirits away:

Origami Heart :

As the season of Valentines approaching and in true REC fashion, we would love to celebrate all kinds of love and connections with you through a heart origami.

Our committment:

We use sustainable kimono packaging as a nod to our roots and further commitment to sustainable practice. REvisiting the way things can be, through upcycling or recycling what you already have, you can now use fabric scraps to make trains of cranes to bring you luck and a way to wind down. 

Tatoushi crane greeting cards

It is the perfect time to evaluate and nurture the different kinds of love you have brought into this new year with. We too have been growing our beloved bespoke collection.

Regardless of what month it is, we believe life is about reaching above and beyond, diving into self-love, discovery and nurturing what connects us to a deeper-rooted love that allows us to REConnect amidst our whirlwind lives every single day. 

#Yoroshiku

Posted on Leave a comment

Celebrating the day of ‘adulthood’ with Kimono

 🍶Happy Seijun no hi 

Seijin no Hi (成人の日), known as the Coming-of-age day, known as the Coming-of-age day is a national holiday to celebrate a whole generation turning 18 years old (previously was 20), a commemoration of their new beginnings as an adult.

What’s the deal? 

This is our statement denim jacket, ‘Flower Wall’ made from Yumi’s Mother’s very own Kimono Obi from her Coming of age ceremony from decades ago.

Naturally, this beautiful fabric would not have seen the day of light had it not been for Yumi upcycling her mother’s vintage silk Obi.

 Due to the speciality of the fabric, Yumi has also upcycled it into a lampshade for her bedroom, as well as framing the remaining square of her mother’s kimono as a soulful reminder of how the brand was started. 

credit: KTW photographer

Today, the second Monday of January is an important welcome to their newfound adulthood, entry into society and the responsibilities that come with a new milestone. A day where the young adults of Japan are encouraged to embrace the marking of their reached maturity and a sense of belonging into a new phase of their lives, leaving behind their adolescence.

Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since 714 CE and one of the highlights of the day is the beautiful traditional furisode kimonoa long sleeve style of kimono distinguishable by its long sleeves, worn by young women.  And traditional Hakama, or western suit for the young men. Kimono rental services, stylists and traditional makeup/ hairdressers are all booked and busy for the masses of young adults on the big day. 

👘 Rental Kimono?

Yes, you heard correctly. Traditional kimonos, especially ones worn for special ceremonies are mostly made from pure Japanese silk, something you cannot wear for all kinds of occasions so newer generations are increasingly deciding to opt for rentals as this is the cheaper and more sustainable approach. 

However…

There are still thousands of kimonos tucked away into the quiet corners of the Japanese households as the heavy silk is deemed too extravagant for everyday wear. What a waste, no?

🕊️ The REC way :

Following the motto of “Mottainai”- ‘no waste’,  4649.REC found a way to customize and grant these special fabrics a new life.

This is why the new floor lamps and lampshades made with colourful silk Obis are ingenious additions to the 4649.REC range of bespoke upcycled products. 

credit: @kendal___eline

🧡 We wanted to REConnect with the very pieces of our culture that celebrate a new beginning in life and proudly use them in our daily lives instead of it being wrapped up in dark corners.

🙏

There are precious stories of youth and memories of a day that commemorates a young person’s journey into adulthood within the seams of their kimono. One of the commitments of the REC way is to REinvigorate by REConstructing something you can appreciate every day alongside the roots of its history. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Holiday Blues: why Blue is a colour to uplift us

a pattern of tiger

We believe in colours as reminders of the vibrancy of life: browse through our products to see how important all colours, especially blue, are integral to our stories.

‘Ao’ represents serenity, vast oceans and stability

What is the ‘Holiday Blues’, and how does it affect us? 

The holiday season brings the pressure of being jovial and merry with your loved ones and who you surround yourself with: stress, anxiety and (seasonal) depression alongside chronic conditions snowball during this time.

photo by : kwtphotographer

‘Over 2 in 5 Brits report feelings of stress, and about 1 in 4 reported struggling with anxiety or depression during the Christmas season.’

insight on celebrations during covid 19 report 2021

Now-empty spaces at the dinner table, longer nights, not enough daytime and the anxiety of leaving the house in fear of the virus. The holiday season can be a debilitating time with an unnerving pressure to be around ‘family’ when you are struggling to find a reason to celebrate. So, when life is not a cookie-cutter version of what we would like it to be, things can get tough and you are not alone feeling this way. 

Here are some ways you can self-soothe

  • 👤Acknowledge your feelings – take time to understand your anxiety, stress or depression, let yourself make way to the reason as to why you might be feeling this way and allow yourself to accept it.
  • 🧠Regain control – Try your best to regulate your high levels of emotions by stepping to the side and taking things slow to take back control: take time for your needs, a walk, quiet time alone or a nap, any form of action which is kind to your mind and body. 
  • 📍Be realistic about your expectations – It’s easy to be disappointed during these times when we have been taught to put the bar very high, but the simple things in life are just as enjoyable.
  • 🤝Reach out – Whether it’s family, friends, or a neighbour; reach out, talk to someone and let them know how you’re holding up. If you find yourself not being able to, ‘The Mind’ is a mental health organization that have helplines open, click over there if you need someone’s help. 

▶️ Watch The Mind’s video 👉 “Not a normal Christmas..” for a preview of issues that the organisation brings awareness to.

4649.REC ethos  💙

As born from the efforts to cope with mental health during a global lockdown, the brand became what it stands for through the strength gained from REConnecting with family through the kimono and cultural roots. We champion mental health awareness by giving a percentage of our proceeds to the aforementioned mental health charity, ‘The Mind’.

We believe sustainability is a philosophy larger than what it is defined by today, it is about sustainable practices across one’s life. It’s about sustaining healthy forms of wellbeing: what we call ‘Ki’ in Japan – protecting and regenerating our inner ecosystem and energy. To provide you with longevity and strength for a tomorrow, to live through another day, every day. Our efforts in REConnecting to what makes us whole is something we practice all the time, through our upcycling, customisations and RECycling –  we take the time to REConstruct what our tomorrow can look like.

 “It’s Okay Not to be okay”: 

It will eventually pass, and perhaps through some of the methods above maybe you will have taken another step towards understanding your ‘Holiday Blues’, preparing you for the next year.

It’s worth remembering that blue in Japan, ‘aoi’, represents a transient colour that carries the vastness, vitality and peace of oceans, skies and broader horizons, so the next time you catch a case of ‘the blues’, ride the wave over to the other side where one can stand on their own two feet with a sense of clarity. 

We, at 4649.REC are grateful to greet another year and thank all who we had the chance to say #Yoroshiku to 🙏

Posted on Leave a comment

#ReduceRecycleReuse

Fast Fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.

– Lucy Siegle

What is Black Friday? 

 Black Friday is when retailers mark products down with huge discounts – incentivising mass consumption.  This started after the Great Depression in the ’50s, where retailers wanted to move their “Red” declining lines of their sales to black. Hence the name. 

But why is this not a solution anymore?

Giant clothing companies and brands all over the West are patterning toxic consumer behaviour, where they are encouraging mass consumption with unethical low prices. 

100 billion pieces of clothing are made each year even with current ‘efforts’ of introducing sustainable lines within big brands, otherwise known as Green Washing. 

Fashion Breakdown : how we are making a difference

Over here at 4649.REC we are championing upcycling, customisation and recycling of loved items that exist to give them a new lease of life.  Our principles are that clothes carry history, a story and a potential to be REinvented, REimagined to REConnect us with what we already have.

You might be wondering how? We will take you through our “Fashion Breakdowns” where we offer you in-depth transparency of how we make/source our clothes.

Here’s a run-down of how we rejuvenated these basic jeans:

They are 100% Denim Cotton

The jeans are sourced from a rescued production sample that didn’t make it to full production

Patches customised artfully onto the jeans are fabric scraps utilised from leftover production / vintage yukata


This piece has been hand-bleached to RE-invent the story of the hoodie and REalise its full potential.

The Obiage (orange belt) has been donated, it is detachable and can be used as a scarf. 

The Obijime, a chord that holds a kimono sash in place is reimagined as a part of the hoodie


There is always a way to REConnect to clothes we have by Upcycling. This is an example of that.

Rescued T-shirt revived with Japanese accents of vintage Yukata patches.

Leftover fabrics from our kimonos have been utilised. We value no waste.

How we can all help :

We can help by not adding to the consumer vortex by actively choosing not to purchase new things and choosing to build on the thing we do have. You can support local independent brands this week like us at 88 Regent Street, where all 6 Brands at the concept store have formed an alliance against Black Friday Sales. Or you can opt for sustainable products or pop in to see us for customisations. This week is about honouring ethical and sustainable practice to work towards a fairer and healthier society. 

If you want to see more fashion breakdowns : 👉 Check out our IG

Posted on Leave a comment

Sustainable and Ethical brands at the heart of London’s famous shopping district

sustainable popup header

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.

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Embrace the summer sun with Kaori Yatsumoto’s upcycled kimono caps

[4649.REC x Kaori Yasumoto] Upcycled Denim Cap – “Gold Katana” Caps

As the summer months, protect yourself in style from the sun with the upcycled kimono caps, from our latest collaboration with Kaori Yatsumoto, using the same fabric as in our army co-ords and in our collaboration with Isaak Ayo.

“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.” 

Kaori Yatsumoto

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. 

Kaori also designs children’s apparel and accessories with a Japanese twist. Follow Kaori on Instagram to keep up with her latest projects.

[4649.REC x Kaori Yasumoto] Upcycled Denim Cap – “Gold Katana” Dark

*Chirimen is a plain-woven silk crêpe composed of raw silk yarn

More from the REC x Kaori Yatsumoto Collaboration:

Posted on 2 Comments

Upcycling to REConnect with your roots

4649.REC is a brand born during lockdown in founder/designer Yumi’s studio in London. During this time of isolation, she began disassembling vintage family kimonos sent from Japan by her mother. 

In modern Japan, kimonos are not everyday garments. Worn only on special occasions, the creation of these pieces of exceptional quality require both time and skill. Thus, they are passed down for generations and take on an emotional and cultural significance. Cutting up these pieces filled with personal memories initially seemed a daunting task, but for Yumi it soon turned out to be a source of empowerment. She found herself cultivating new conversations and strengthening her family relationships, which led her to a deeper connection with her cultural heritage.

Yoroshiku 4649 is a playful Japanese streetwear brand started by Yumi in 2011, mixing elements of hip and hop and Japanese pop culture. 4649.REC, however, uses her family kimonos as the inspiration for streetwear pieces and modern attires.

The Yoroshiku brand is always at the intersection of hip hop culture and Japanese culture, both traditional and modern, a reflection of Yumi’s upbringing. Her mother was a hip hop dancer, whose wardrobes were filled with streetwear imported from overseas. Yumi sees her work as a tribute to her love of hip hop music: in the same way hip hop samples classic beats and reinvents them over and over, 4649.REC intends to repurpose pre-loved fabrics and reinvent them to make people fall in love with them again and again. 

Yumi’s mother influenced this collection beyond simply being a style inspiration; she provided the meaning, the story behind every piece. Sharing the design process with her mother over Zoom calls, usually prompted her mother to tell the emotional stories she associates with each kimono. Hearing these stories not only strengthened their bond, it gave Yumi a new sense of connection to her family and to her culture, an emotional fulfillment which she wants to share with others. Each piece is an invitation to become a part of the story of these kimonos. Furthermore, we want to go further by creating workshops which would allow others to reconnect with their wardrobe, family and inner self.

We believe upcycling and the slow fashion movement begin from within you. Sustainability must be understood not solely as regenerating and protecting ecosystems, but also regenerating the energy within each of us, what the Japanese call ‘Ki(気)’. 4649.REC’s #UpcyclingKi workshops intend to do just that: teach you not just to upcycle your clothes, but to upcycle your energy. These workshops allow you not simply to connect with others, but also to reconnect with your roots and, ultimately, to reconnect with yourself.

Read the article featured on W&B magazine about the process of upcycling her mother’s kimonos here.