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/.
September 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 4th September 2017
June 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: Mentorship and Networking
The FEW Women’s Start-up Club wrapped up the year on June 29, with a timely presentation on mentoring and motivation for entrepreneurs by Patricia Bader Johnston. Patricia’s career in Japan has spanned the public sector, including the Canadian Embassy, and the private sector, including positions at Goldman Sachs and Japan Tabaco, corporate decision-making as a […]Published on 1st August 2017
Event Recap: Few & Mirai no Mori Concert For a Cause
What a night! On behalf of all of us at FEW, a great, big thank you for joining us for Concert For a Cause! On a balmy, summer night, FEW members, friends and performers got together at British pub 2nd Half in Takadanobaba for a night of music to raise funds for Mirai No Mori, an NPO providing […]Published on 14th July 2017
How I Got Here: Joanna Sato
I look through the windows of my Japanese home at the cityscape of Tokyo and I see how my life has been a series of navigating varied landscapes. The landscape I inhabit now is very different from the one of my hometown in the south of Poland, where my journey began. I first left home […]Published on 30th June 2017
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi!
Share Your Passion
Do you run your own business or are you thinking of starting one? Join the first FEW Women's Start-Up Club of 2017-2018 to share your projects and passions and connect with other like-minded when who may be able to help you in your entrepreneurial journey.
Make the Connection: Practical Networking Strategies that Work for You
Join us for an interactive workshop with Helen Iwata, Founder of Sasuga! Communications, to learn about the benefits of networking, and gain insights, practical tips and strategies for connecting with confidence, conviction and purpose.
Japan's Path to Multiculturalism
At our October Monthly Meeting, we’re welcoming a panel of speakers to discuss multiculturalism in Japan today, including what steps organizations and individuals are taking to help expose people to multicultural environments and develop a more inclusive society.