By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern
The 2016-17 FEW year ended with our monthly meeting on July 13, where we were joined by guests and members to hear about the endeavors of longtime FEW member, Melanie Uematsu.
Melanie was born in Germany and studied fashion design in Berlin and London. Fascinated with Japan, she first came to Japan as an exchange student, interning at Tsumori Chisato. Another scholarship brought her back to Japan in 2003, this time as a Uniqlo designer. However, just as they had mentioned in her interview, Uniqlo was a clothing company, not a design company and she “wouldn’t be a designer” but rather a merchandiser. Bored of handling just numbers and craving for more creativity, she began working at graniph, a clothing design company. While they gave her an unlimited travel budget to connect with artists from all over the world with graniph, here she was a communicator rather than a designer. When she started to feel out of sync, questioning what her niche was, she decided this was not the place to be either. After quitting, Melanie went freelance and joined Jurgen Lehl, working more at her own pace, especially after the fast paced fashion companies she had come from.
This wasn’t enough for her, however. From trends, style, color and material to sizes, the fashion industry has to dress all people from around the world. Truth be told though, Melanie asks, how many of these mass produced clothes really suit us? To Melanie, trends did not feel inspiring and she did not feel committed to the women on the front page of Vogue magazine. Her style was not what magazines and websites for her age group told her to wear. She did not want to be limited to only 3 colors per piece, restricted by the trends and seasons and she definitely would not allow herself to fit into one of 3 sizes, small, medium or large when there were at least 12 different body shapes — not considering the different lengths of limbs and more. 40 and more different body types should not be forced to fit into a S, M or L, so in 2010, Melanie decided to open her own atelier.
With “Your ideas as inspiration, my skills to tailor it into reality” as her motto, she has helped clients from over 40 countries to make their ideas for shirts, skirts, wedding dresses and more, come true. Most have come in for her sewing classes called “Sewing Circle” where you learn to tailor in order to better communicate with your seamstress and make your own clothing, costumes and more. She not only tailors for individuals but also uses her skills to help furniture companies, advertisers or stage professionals. Each has their own individual back story as to why they are making what they are, what these clothes mean to them. Much more than just a fabric wrapped around their bodies, clothes are able to reflect us as a person which is why it is important to find your perfect fit.
Planning to utilize a new computer program this summer, Melanie hopes that her currently hand-drawn patterns will become easier to make and improve the whole outfitting process. We are excited to see what new projects Melanie will take on next.
Find out more about Melanie’s atelier at https://melanie-uematsu.com/.
November Strategic Partner News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 31st October 2017
November Community Services Feature with Charles McJilton of Second Harvest
By Tia Haygood, Community Services Director With Winter and the holiday season around the corner, many of us are mapping out our plans for the upcoming thanksgiving dinners, bonenkai, Christmas celebrations, and the like. As we make merry in our end-of-year celebrations, we should still be mindful that in Japan there are 20 million people […]Published on 31st October 2017
How I Got Here: Aya McCrindle
In my life, I’ve experience five personal ‘tsunamis’ that threatened to leave me broken, but instead gave me strength and led to the creation of the Find Your Element Workshop, a 12 week creative evening program that takes participants on a step by step journey of self-awareness and exploration. I was 24 when the first […]Published on 30th October 2017
Strategic Partner Spotlight: Sarah Furuya Coaching- Celebrating 5 Years in Business
As I write this, it is 5 years to the day since I quit my job, hopped on a plane to NYC and went to a three-day event called ‘Rich, Happy and Hot Live’ with 500 entrepreneurs and the world’s finest soulful online entrepreneurs. It was a brilliant way to enter my entrepreneurial life and […]Published on 29th October 2017
Special Event Recap: Make the Connection: Practical Networking Strategies that Work for You
What is networking? How do you prepare for a ‘networking’ event – your approach, look, conversation points, questions? How do you overcome shyness to approach others? Or how do you elegantly end a conversation? What is way the best to follow up and maintain new relationships? Helen Iwata, CEO of Sasuga Communications K.K., answered these questions […]Published on 26th October 2017
Women's Start Up Club: Marketing with a Purpose
Strategy and Implementation Consultant Zsuzsanna Jarfas of Japan Creative Enterprises will demonstrate the basic tools of marketing with purpose and how WSC participants can apply these tactics to their own businesses.
November Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Pain Quotidien Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering. The mixer will again be at Le Pain Quotidien at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi!
Tokyo Run for the Cure
Join FEW at the Run for the Cure/ Walk for Life Marathon around the Imperial Palace on December 2nd! More details coming soon.
FULLY BOOKED! Radical Boundaries: How to Say No to Make Way for YES
Join us for an exclusive workshop with Sarah Furuya on developing techniques to say 'no' in order to devote your time and attention to the things and people you truly love.