Meet Hiromi Kani – founder of Skin Aware
Hiromi Kani, fashion designer in Tokyo, is very much aware of the environmental issues caused by the fashion industry. She decided to do actively something about it, a game changer, leading the way through action and inspiration.
I’m honored to introduce you to Hiromi Kani, founder of the ethical fashion brand Skin Aware, that uses botanical dye and waste, manufactures locally, using organic fair trade materials. A stylish solution to home wear, outerwear and wellbeing accessories with a fresh toxic free mist collection.
Hiromi, thanks for taking time for us out of your busy schedule. You are running possibly the first ethical fashion brand in Japan which is growing every season, opening your first store in Tokyo in Spring 2018 and continuously seeking solutions to a sustainable fashion brand with local impact on waste, ecology including the high demand of style. Can you tell us what about the fashion Industry still tugs at your heartstrings today?
My background is in the fashion industry.
Through Skin Aware I aim to combine fashion and ecology, which people still see as separate things. I believe that combined we can change the state of the environment. The impact can be phenomenal.
In the future I believe that everything will be organic, ethical, environmentally friendly.
What sparked the birth of your brand Skin Aware?
As a young fashion designer I used to enjoy designing a new collection every six month. That was a great opportunity to express my creativity. Which I really enjoyed. But at the same time, it comes with a lot of pressure. It’s all about sales and discounts. I realized that it was a waste.
We should have clothing we really love that we can wear for a long time and keep them as a part of our life. I think that our clothing consumption is not making me happy anymore. I found that many people in the industry stuffer from low wage, health and environmental troubles.
I wanted to create a positive cycle with the clothing line.
That’s why I created Skin Aware
What was your biggest struggle in bringing Skin Aware to life and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning I can another label called ‘Cocoon’. That was my main work. I never thought that Skin Aware would become my main, because it was lit by passion not based on business. More of a life work. But gradually the fashion industry changed with all the fast fashion brands taking over the majority of the market. Many of my good clients who ran select shops launched their own brands and became compeditors releasing their own fashion brands. There was no more need for more brands for them. It was a good time to concentrate on Skin Aware.
What inspires you for your designs?
I really get the inspiration from the nature.
But same time the physical design part comes through imagining the situation my customers will wear the item: seasons, situations, occasions. I take into consideration what will be most suitable for them. My room-wear can also be okay for a walk with the dog, spend time in a resort hotel, pop out to the combini. That’s how I apply the practical design.
I also rely on my friends opinions. Friends always give great tips in regards to design. They like fashion and can really tell me what they want and how they feel in my clothes. I’m grateful to get their reply and design for them. It makes my designs more personal, not based on marketing.
The brand name Skin Aware comes from the awareness evoked by conscious choices of materials we put on our bare skin. Like the organic cotton, the harvest and manufacturing methods applied. What I feel comfortable with gives me confidence. A feeling of care that enables more awareness of what surrounds us like majestic landscapes.
Botanical dye used at Skin Aware:
What was the best advice you ever received?
I love running a company but it’s pretty unpredictable. I listen carefully to what surrounds me. Every time I go through a difficult time, I get the right message or advice for the moment from either friends, books, movies. It makes me feel I’m on the right track.
Anything can be an excuse to stop, but I carried on for years because I found that kind of message from the universe.
Where do you see your brand in lets say 4-5yrs?
We opened our first store in Hibiya Midtown Tokyo in March this year.
I really wish to offer a some kind of universal language comm.unication through this brand. Hopefully I can go overseas with my brand to make it a global brand. To reach the people who share the same standard of this lifestyle . I want to meet them in another city and communicate with the through my brand. In America Europe, Asia, Middle East.
Where do you like to travel to?
Lately I went to the very North point of Hokkaido. That’s where my last Winter collection found it’s inspiration.
Other than Japan, I love going to Sedona, Iceland and the big Island of Hawaii.
In the future I’d love to go to Mexico, to Tulum. I’d like to visit Senote, the natural pond. It’s half ocean half lake. Id love to go there to dive and take pictures. I really enjoy the deepness of the ocean.
What is one purposeful pleasure you pamper yourself with?
Every weekend I go to yoga to keep the balance mental physical. Its really good for me. I have a busy time at work.
On daily basis I like to go to hot yoga to relax.
I love to travel, discover places. I get great inspiration from nature every season. I pick up botanical dye inspired from the landscapes. Fall-Winter is darker light grey, blues, faint pinks. I very much enjoy the trip and the nature. That is one of the biggest entertainment for me.
Going into nature is the best entertainment for me.
What are your secret Tokyo recommendations?
I’d like to recommend my friend Pietros restaurant. I feel home with him and I love the food, at Mamma Luisas Table.
Tree by Naked – experimental restaurant. Its totally amazing. Naked is the projection mapping creative team. It’s a new experience to have the projection mapping in a dark room while you enjoy different pates. The darkness enhances the concentration of taste. The images are computer graphic and really feel the great dimension of the nature. The food is really good.