a japanese flower
When you walk into Mayumi's boutique at 56 rue de Capitaine Dreyfuss, you walk into a colourful, cosy space.
Silk material pokes out from wooden shelves, tables are covered with bright scarves, clothes hang on the walls.
At the back you can often see Mayumi at her sewing machine. You come into the heart of her workshop, in her world and it feels good.
Mayumi discretely welcomes you, a bright smile, much like the colours she uses in her designs.
The boutique as been open since May 2017 but before settling here, Mayumi has been on quite an adventure.
Born in Chiba, about 30 kilometres from Tokyo in Japon, Mayumi studied fashion design at the famous Bunka Fashion College for 3 years (Hiroko Koshino, Yohji Yamamoto & Chisato Tsumori all went there).
After graduating, instead of going to work in a fashion house, she went to work for the government handling Quality Control for fabrics imports into the country.
The fashion world did not appeal to her. Being bossed around by irate head designers, getting home late, being stressed out, were all things Mayumi did not want to do.
After 3 years as a Quality Controller a new adventure was calling.
Thanks to a new agreement between France and Japan, a new system of 'Working Holiday Visas"was put into place.
Mayumi ceased the opportunity to come to France for a year
"Even if Paris is the fashion capital of the world,
I didn't come for that, but for the adventure, the life experience"
But as luck would have it, she did end up working for a Franco-japanese fashion brand and put her training to good use as the pattern maker for the designer She made the vision of the designer come to life by actually making the sketches into real clothes.
Her one year abroad turned into 4 and a half!
During this time she met her husband. His work as an architect led him to China, so after her four and a half years it was direction Shanghai, for another chapter in her life.
Mayumi's shop in Shanghai, China
BORN IN SHANGHAI
It was during her time in Shanghai that Mayumi decided to launch her own brand in 2006.
The label 'Mayumi Sato' was born (as well as 2 real children while she was there!).
She started off selling her clothers in a 1m² corner spot of a concept store, but thanks to some great client feedback , rapidly decided to open her own place, a project that lasted for 7 years
"I didn't have any particular project in mind when I went to China but I
made up the first collection really quickly and it just all went from there"
She had an international clientele (aournd 60% of clients), Shangjai being a hub for expats.
She used a lot of Japanese materials and local ones too- fabrics beig easy to fnd in small quantities
"In France it's difficut to find good quality fabric in small quantites,
you have to buy in bulk. So I use Japanese fabric that I bring back with me
when I go there and I have still have some material left from Shanghai."
COTTON, SILK AND POMPOMS
They came back to France in 2013 with 2 boys in their bags and came to live in Montreuil one year later. For Mayumi, Shanghai was not a suitable place to bring up kids.
As soon as her second son started school, she decided to open a shop again, this time here in Montreuil and the boutique has been open since 2017.
I ask her to define her style:
"Easy to wear, lots of colours, simple lines and original features"
It's true that Mayumi's clothes have very simple clear, lines to them, often with a hidden detail or 2.
She makes 20 pieces a year from cotton and silk. She also makes accessories notably bags and cotton & silk scarves, some with pompoms.
The pompoms are made from left-over cuts from either cotton or the kimono material she uses to make her clothes (some are more than 100 years old).
Recycling and upcycling everything she uses!
Japanese-style designs Made in Montreuil
All the furniture is from China or Japan
fills the shop
I recommend you pop into the store, take in the atmosphere and meet the talented Mayumi
Open from Tuesday to Saturday
56 rue de Capitaine Dreyfus