People We Love: Akari Tachibana

Apr 22, 2015

Aysia Stieb

We took a day trip to the Legion of Honor and Ocean Beach with our friend Akari Tachibana, who is a designer and pen artist based in San Francisco, California. Though she moved to San Francisco a few years ago to pursue clothing design, she has deep ties to her hometown Tenkawa, Japan, and still draws inspiration from the region in both her art and everyday life.

 

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    Can you tell us about where you’re from in Japan? What was it like growing up there?

    I grew up in Osaka as an only child, but early on, I moved with my family to Tenkawa, a countryside village in Nara Prefecture. My mom grew up in Tenkawa, and wanted to go back to open her own shop and cafe. My father built the shop and my mother makes the clothing and jewelry thats for sale at Koo, which you can visit today in Tenkawa.

    There are lots of tourists in Tenkawa, but also lots of artists. There’s a Shinto temple there that has a famous chime that you can ring for the god of artists. It’s very pretty.

    Did you grow up helping your mom make stuff?

    At first, only making chai and coffee in her shop! Starting from when I was about 12 years old I worked in the cafe. It was a little bit stressful, but I also learned a lot from that experience, like how to talk to strangers and appreciate customers. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    How does your upbringing influence your thinking about clothing design?

    I’ve always liked fashion since I was little, but I didn’t think about making clothes until recently.

    My mom is my fashion idol, and I got into clothing design because of her. She makes everything by hand, which has given me an appreciation for natural fabrics and traditional dye processes. She makes indigo dye herself and was the first person to show me indigo dye. She also spins her own wool to make thread that she weaves into fabric.

    Can you tell us a bit about your art?

    I feel so happy when I’m focused on making something. It makes my mom happy too--to know that I’m making things. I like being able to show her what I’ve created, thanks to her.

    I’m drawing all the time, and I primarily do fine pen mandalas in black and white. I’m inspired by what’s natural, in both my art and clothing design. I also like things that have a good process.

    You can follow Akari on Instagram at @akaritachibana
    See her art at akaritachibana.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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We're Open!

Mar 05, 2015

Noah Guy


We're excited to announce that beginning today, the Joshu+Vela Tradeshop is open for business! This is a soft open, so stay tuned for more news on our official opening day (and party!) in a few weeks.

The Tradeshop is located on 16th Street between Mission and Valencia, just right across the street from the 16th Street BART Station. Come in and see our line of bags and accessories, made right here in our Tradeshop from start to finish.


Swing by and say hi! We’d love to see you.

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The Tradeshop

Feb 04, 2015

Noah Guy

As many of you know, we do everything from start to finish in our San Francisco studio. Since 2010, we’ve built our brand and credibility on our dedication to producing well-designed, high quality bags and accessories that are made to last. For the last five years we've operated happily out of a small workspace in the SoMa neighborhood, but within the last year we've been scouting a new space that would help realize our dream of sharing our manufacturing process with our customers. What we've finally found is a beautiful, light-filled workspace that's centrally located and near all of our friends in the Mission.  

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    The Joshu+Vela Tradeshop is not just a larger studio—it’s a custom space built out to suit our needs both with regard to manufacturing, as well as giving our customers the opportunity to see what goes into each product they purchase. This second part is especially important to us, because so much of what we do, and why we do it, is rooted in our design and manufacturing process. We want our customers to come into the Tradeshop and see not only who is behind each bag or wallet, but also how every piece is produced. Because we do everything in-house, we’re able to adjust our patterns as necessary in order to turn around quickly with an improved design. Experimentation is central to our design process, and only possible through small batch production. 

    The Tradeshop will officially open its doors in March. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, especially our amazing customers. Because of you, we are able to do what we love: create thoughtfully designed products that are made to last, right here in San Francisco.

     

     

     

     

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The Brass Keyhook

Nov 20, 2014

Aysia Stieb

After two years of development, we are happy to finally release this product to you. Countless prototypes, tons of testing and careful sourcing went into this keyhook. We have held off releasing it for months so we could tweak every element and make sure it is just what we intended it to be - functional, beautiful, and affordable. Sand cast for us in solid brass, the keyhook is as functional as it is elegant. The long body of the hook creates a gentle spring action at the opening, making it easy to slide over the edge of your bag or onto the belt loop of your jeans. And it stays there too - we have been testing this keyhook everyday to make sure that it never accidentally unhooks. The design is sculptural yet falls gracefully flat over your rear. It is the perfect length to tuck your keys into your back pocket and keep them silent. 

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    Meet our friend Emma - she has a wonderful sense of personal style, loves to read, has a warm and welcoming personality, and also happens to have an amazing Instagram. We've been wanting to catchup over coffee or tea and show her our new Brass Keyhook, so we met at one of our favorite cafes in San Francisco, The Mill. We spent the afternoon talking about persimmon season, apartment hunting, and cute dogs all around Alamo Square Park. This park has some of the best views of the city and is so conveniently located. On one side of the park you can see all of downtown San Francisco right behind the famous Painted Ladies houses, and on the other side proudly stands the Sutro Tower. We were so thankful to get outside on this beautiful weekday and hangout with Emma as she modeled our new Brass Keyhook. Be sure to follow Emma's Instagram here!

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Introducing the Bucket Tote

Nov 02, 2014

Aysia Stieb

We are so excited to introduce you to our new tote. After many months of working on this design, we have finally created something that we believe could easily become your new favorite. The Bucket Tote has a perfect proportion of width and height that compliment each other. The circular bottom creates a clean geometric shape. You will find this bag to be an effortless addition to your daily life.  

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    The removable shoulder strap is minimal, functional, and gets out of your way when using the short handles. From the moment you pick up the tote you'll notice its balanced design. For example, we used leather just to cover the handles, the part that gets the most use. The outside pocket is divided into three compartments. One is thoughtfully sized for your phone, another for a pen, and the third for whatever you please. The fabric is our heaviest weight, 24 oz cotton canvas in natural and black. While stiff initially, the canvas will quickly break-in and become softer with use. 

    For this journal post, we spent some time shooting at June Kim and Michelle Cho's perfectly lit apartment in Oakland, California. Michelle Cho is a photographer and filmmaker, constantly noticing the beautiful and subtle moments in light and movement. You can find her work on her website, here. June Kim is also a photographer and overall visual thinker who always seems to be on the road or traveling abroad. View some of her work on her website, here. As we photographed on this Sunday afternoon, we wanted to embrace the deep contrast the sunlight was providing indoors. We played with the idea of dark and light to compliment the natural and black canvas, carry-all totes. 
     

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