Events / Monthly Meeting

Rina Bovrisse – The Accidental Activist : From Chanel to Governor of Tokyo?

Join us for the first meeting of the new FEW year to hear from Rina Bovrisse about how she became an accidental activist working in the fashion industry and ending up with a burning desire to get into politics.

Wednesday September 12th / 19:00-22:00 / FEW Members ¥2,000, Associates ¥1,500 JPY / Guests ¥5,000, Non-Member Students (ID required) & Interns ¥3,000 (incl. salad/finger food buffet, soft drinks and wine)

Rina Bovrisse, our speaker to kick off the FEW year in September, never imagined when she started her career in fashion that she would somehow end up with a burning desire to get into politics. Now she’s considering running as governor of Tokyo as early as 2024.

When she was younger, Rina always wanted to be in fashion, and chased her goal of working from Chanel.  She ended up living in Harlem in New York, and employed by the French house as a fashion buyer and product manager. She worked long hours, and experienced some of the pressure and exploitation that’s endemic in the fashion industry. At one point she moved to Hawaii, where her son was born, and was back in Paris on business trips, bringing her son along with her, just two months old, after his birth.

Later in her career, she was hired for a senior role at Prada in Tokyo. But there she started to find examples of discrimination and power harassment, especially with the Prada Japan CEO lambasting women who were “old, fat, ugly, disgusting or did not have the Prada look.” And so she took a brave step, bringing a lawsuit against Prada which went as far as the UN.

She lost the suit, but the experience changed her. Rina realized that she did have a voice, and that it was her responsibility to use that. About 7 years ago, she set up her own business, launching Chateau School in Tokyo’s Nishi-Azabu, an international pre-school that treats children as ‘diplomats’. She says she’s come to the conclusion that a lot of the answers to the problems faced by women in Japan can be found in early education.

And now, she’s considering a run for Tokyo’s gubernatorial elections. In politics, you have the possibility to change things on a bigger scale, says Rina, adding that she feels the responsibility to leverage her experiences in the fashion world.

Come and hear Rina talk about what she’s learned from her experiences, how that can empower you to have a voice, and how to use that to bring about change.

Rina’s colour is pink, because for her it means: “POP — The Power of Positive.” And as for activism and getting into politics, she has this to say: ”If I can do this, anyone can.”


About Rina Bovrisse (Born 1974, Japan)

PHOTO 1Rina spent her childhood in the fastest growing economy and bubble era. In the late 80’s she moved to one of the oldest US boarding school and landed in New York City. In 1992, she moved to Paris and attended American University of Paris, Parsons Paris, University of Paris, lived in London to attend Central Saint Martins to study Fashion Design and graduated with BBA in Design Marketing from Parsons School of Design in New York. She spent most of her career at Chanel’s global headquarters. In 2010, she was involved in a high-profile fashion case and raised awareness of women’s rights in both fashion industry and Japan. In 2011, she founded Chateau School, a lifestyle preschool to educate children from 3 months old while working mothers are back to work.


Note: The September Monthly Meeting will take place exceptionally on a Wednesday. After that the FEW Monthly Meetings will take place as usual on the second Thursday of the month.

Enjoy FEW meetings? Don’t keep the secret to yourself! FEW members may bring up to two first-time guests to each monthly meeting for a special rate of ¥4,000. Simply make a note of your guest’s name or have your guest mention your name in the Questions and Comments box when registering. If your guest becomes a FEW member at the meeting, you’ll receive a ¥1,000 voucher to use towards your next meeting

Note: Those attendees travelling to the Minami Azabu Centre by bicycle are kindly asked to please refrain from parking in front of the Kenzo Estate Winery. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in ensuring bicycles are parked in an orderly manner.

Kiwi-Kitchen-Logo-Red-200pxFEW Monthly Meetings are catered by well-known gourmet food company Kiwi Kitchen. Based on providing healthy, delicious food from all corners of the globe, Kiwi Kitchen delivers gourmet meals and  provides catering services for businesses and international schools, office functions and meetings, cocktail parties, BBQs and other functions requiring food delivered on-site within Tokyo Metropolitan area.  The company also operates a cafe in Shirokane, right on Platinum dori, less than 10mins walk from Shirokanedai station.

Event Details

Rina Bovrisse – The Accidental Activist : From Chanel to Governor of Tokyo?
Wednesday September 12th
FEW Members ¥2,000, Associates ¥1,500 JPY / Guests ¥5,000, Non-Member Students (ID required) & Interns ¥3,000 (incl. salad/finger food buffet, soft drinks and wine)
Minami Azabu Centre Hall
4-12-25 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0047