Colenimo founder Aya Nakagawa, began her design career in Japan’s fast moving capital of style – Tokyo. After graduating from Tokyo’s Mode Fashion University, Aya worked in the fashion industry for eight years before coming to London. What first began as one-year career break, ended up in starting her own London based label 2007. She found herself dazzled with European fabric supplies and since then she has developed her own classical, clean style using mainly British traditional textiles. Her commitment stands solid when it comes to design, source and producing in the UK. And as result of Aya’s obsessive attention to quality and style, she takes ownership presenting exquisite, timeless clothing, giving them longevity past seasonal trends. 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a Japanese fashion designer living in London town.

What do you love the most about your profession?

I love being able to spend my time and energy doing something I really love.

How would you define your out look on fashion?

A good garment should have integrity and honesty. I like pieces that tell stories, and style that transcends seasonal trends.

Your fashion career started in Tokyo, what creative and professional benefits have this given you?

I learnt how to work really hard. Seriously, people in Tokyo never rest.

I also learnt how to be very organised (a skill that’s very important when juggling the tasks involved in running a small label) and I learnt a lot of good technical design know-how.

According to you, between Japan and UK/Europe, what differentiates peoples perspective on fashion?

I think the divide is getting smaller but Japanese definitely still have a more obsessive attention to detail and quality. People in London are a bit more willing to take a risk.

What are the pros and cons being a London based designer?

Pros: It’s easy to meet interesting new people London. My factories are all close-by so I can pop round and check in on them. There is great freedom here and people are very accepting of difference.

Cons: The rent!

In a fast moving fashion industry, what would you like to communicate as designer of a smaller, independent label?

That we need to be more in touch with our suppliers and manufacturers and that we need to make products that last (both in terms of quality and style) for more than a single season. If you follow your own sense of style, you won’t need to replace your wardrobe every time the wind changes.

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