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Life & Work with Alec Nakashima

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alec Nakashima.

Hi Alec, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story, and the story of AKASHI-KAMA, really starts with the generations before me in my family. Being Asian American, I feel so indebted and grateful to those generations who sacrificed a lot for me to have the opportunities I have today.

Our fashion brand really started when I was looking for clothes with a traditional aesthetic but wanting to wear them in a modern, everyday context. I couldn’t find anything with all the details and specifics I was picturing, so I figured I would design my own. The goal from the beginning was really as simple as wanting to create something that represented multiple cultures weaving together. Since then, we’ve found a lot of different ways to tell stories with the brand through different garments and designs.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Definitely some struggles and bumps along the way. Early on, I remember being stuck on the 4th sample iteration of our gold aglet ends (one of my favorite design aspects on our Noragi) and feeling discouraged. But you can uncover resilience there too—I think if you take all of those lessons in stride, they can be some of the best learning experiences you can have.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Our signature, and what we’re probably most known for is our Noragi Jacket, although our new Knitwear sweaters are a close second. These are probably the clearest representation of our brand…they’re our way of opening up once-traditional silhouettes and designs to everybody. We only started in 2019 but have been fortunate to be seen in GQ, Valet Mag, Gear Patrol, and others. So while we’re proud of the work thus far, we’re excited by the other styles we have coming up.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
For me personally, I think resilience and curiosity are massive. The willingness to ask questions that you may feel silly asking. And of course hard work, putting in the effort without taking shortcuts.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

For personal photo: Alec at the JACCC Garden in Little Tokyo for the rest: Image Credit – AKASHI KAMA

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