As a girl who usually lusts over Staud bucket bags and Carrie Bradshaw-esque Manolo Blahniks, I was incredibly surprised that any designer could have me drooling over a repurposed military jacket accented with an old Goodwill sheet.
Enter: Yokishop and Jeff “Yoki” Yokoyama.
Yokishop is a small but eclectic little shop located in Newport Beach. The walls are covered in paintings and artwork, and the racks that line the perimeter are full of one-of-a-kind pieces that Yoki and his partner craft by hand.
According to Yoki, his store is “not quite like a bakery, but we’re every day fresh.”
The surfer attitude that drives Yoki’s style and inspiration is clear in each printed sweatshirt and hand-embroidered logo he crafts.
The idea behind his line is to repurpose and reinvent old and forgotten garments (think leftover wholesale Gildan sweatshirts and Salvation Army flannels) with artwork and accents from other old and forgotten garments.
After decades in the garment business, Yoki described how important it is to listen to what’s driving the market and keep an eye on what’s coming next. Right now, especially in Southern California, his market is fixed on sustainability.
Yoki’s takes old jerseys from UCLA or buys discarded military gear from K and K Camo Surplus that would otherwise be thrown away and accents them with colorful pockets or logos from one of his lines breathes new life into garments.
He described the lifecycle of his clothing as bringing “a product from cradle, not to grave, but back to cradle.”
The things that Yoki truly values in his life: sustainability, surf, and connection, is obvious, even from just a look around his shop. His design studio is located in the back of his small shop where his business partner Sergio works diligently to sew and craft what Yoki designs.
In the front of his shop, Yoki’s son, Buzzy, sells his own line of sustainable apparel. Many of Yoki’s sweatshirts feature drawings done by his daughter that were printed using direct-to-garment screen printing, a more unique and sustainable way to print.
It seems almost to good to be true that a brand so local and original is thriving in the age of Forever 21 and Zara. Yoki is aware of the mass-produced and fast fashion lifecycle that exists not far outside his doors.
“You have to recognize your surroundings, but recognize what you can bring to the party,” Yoki said.
To Yoki, this means putting his own definition to sustainability. Because Yoki listens to his market’s needs for conscious and responsible garments, consumers keep coming back for his one-off garment and original designs. He’s the perfect example of the old saying, “people don’t buy what you sell, they buy what you do.”