The muted colors and combination of patterns are reminiscent of the origami paper I used to get from Japan.
Then, there was the unmistakable overlap of strings that reminded me of the aprons sold in little shops on side streets leading to temples of Tokyo.
It turns out, I was on the right track.
Meet the Manhattan-based Tokyoite artist Aki, the creator behind the handmade bags and aprons of oktak.
Over the years, I have evolved into someone who carries a cotton or nylon tote with me whenever I go shopping. It’s convenient and it saves on plastic consumption. Also, I’m constantly on the prowl for groovy stuff I can use in my kitchen.
Her choice of textiles is subtle but rich in color and design. The tales artist speak of never cease to fascinate me as they share the journey that took them to where they are today.
Aki was born in Tokyo but spent her childhood across different places: New York, L.A. and London. The backbone of her designs echo clearly her rich heritage fused with Western touches.
The original vision for this artist was to be an international human rights lawyer for the United Nations. And her footsteps took her closer to that dream.
Having majored in international law followed by an Oxford graduate degree in public administration and politics, she then landed a post in the Japanese Foreign Ministry in New York.
Life, as we know it, happens when we’re busy doing other things. Change is constantly upon us — and for Aki, it was for the best.
After a struggle in hopes of finding a career that would allow her to juggle work with the challenges of being a new mom, her destiny eventually took an unexpected but pleasant turn.
It was through the suggestion of her husband that she enrolled herself at the Fashion Institute Of Technology to carve a new path for herself…in art. Today, she runs her business online and is happily creating functional pieces of art for kids and even kids at heart.
For those who know me, there are strong and familiar notes in Aki’s story — a tale which inspires and motivates artists who may have a million and one excuses for putting their craft on hold.
(Photos by oktak)