To Top

Meet Ayumi Shibata

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ayumi Shibata.

Hi Ayumi, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
With already 13 years of experience in the fashion industry in Japan under my belt, I arrived in the United States and had to start over from scratch. After my divorce, I moved to Los Angeles from San Diego with my car, clothes and $160 to my name. Fortunately, a good friend of mine needed help with his business and I began helping him in exchange for a place to stay. While working at my friend’s famous vintage store “SLOW” on Melrose Ave., the idea came to me to repurpose products and transform them into cool new items. I started making reinvented creations every day and suddenly buyers from all over the world such as Topshop, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Planet Blue and Hot Topic among others asked how they could get their hands on my designs. This was the beginning of my wholesale business.

A year and half after I began with my $160 nest egg, I set up my own clothing line. By the end of my first year, my dream of reaching 6 figure sales came true. You may think we’ve reached our happy ending, but what’s a good roller coaster without any drops? An unfortunate pairing with an untrustworthy business partner brought my budding empire down around me. I was devastated and depressed. If there is one thing that I have mastered, it is rebuilding stronger from the ruin. So again, I started a new line with the help and encouragement of my close friends. As they often will, another opportunity to shine arose and I entered the WWD Magic / Galerie Lafayette in Paris Emerging Designer Contest and won 1st place for presentation with Galerie Lafayette’s top buyers in Paris. That same year, I was afforded the honor of winning another award for Best Emerging Designer from the Fashion Business Institution in 2015. From here, I began design consulting and private labels with well-known fashion corporations in the United States.

After the pandemic began there have been a lot of people that suffered job loss, needing to pivot in their life and try to do something new. I’ve realized that I would be able to help people out with all my skill and experience. Especially to help my Japanese compatriots. Because Japan had previously a very strong impact on a lot of industries, however recently I felt that Japanese people has not been so motivated to try something new and by innovative. Rather just staying in their own country, and not so looking at wide vision of the world. Japanese seem to be keeping a cozy life in their only area. I’ve felt sad and disappointed, so I want to encourage Japanese people who has been struggling with their life and their path.

I have just started a new business as online consulting and online seminars for starting up business entrepreneurs, fashion designers, store owners, buyers and someone needs help to guide through of making their hobby/ interest become their dream job come true.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all. My life has been a roller coaster in a Magic Mountain, even I hate these kind of thrill rides. I came to United States as when I was 32 years old and didn’t speak English at all. First of all, very struggling communicating to people , especially finding a job. I still have been really thick Japanese and something weird combination accent of my English lol, but it has been a huge struggle and a huge obstacle to being self conscious to speak in public and especially in front of people. I always thought that I could come to the USA when I was a teenager, well it’s late, lol.

Also, there are a lot of struggles my business in the United States, because the way of the business structure was way different compared to Japan and the USA. I needed to learn about US business, but before I learned my products started taking off into the market, I needed to have someone native speaker who has financial, sales and marketing support for my business and I was married with the wrong business partners and then lost all my business… everything.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a creative director, fashion designer and wardrobe stylist based in Los Angeles. I had worked in high fashion in Tokyo for 13 years and has been working in fast fashion to ready to wear fashion in the USA for 15 years. I do create and direct new clothing lines and align / merchandise their products into the market. My specialize in is that I have a global prospective and international unique sense of taste. I also have a broad range of expertise from design through production to branding and styling.

I am most proud of that I was awarded twice 2018 best emerging designer in the USA, and also created a costume for Lady gaga’s music video in 2011.

I’m currently focusing on building my career as a wardrobe stylist for commercials and the company’s advertisement fields, especially life style.

How do you define success?
I do refine success is that “never give up”, ” believe myself”, “don’t afraid of other people’s eyes and negative voice” and “aim high”. If I am failed, I analyze why I failed and try different way. which need to be “flexible”.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

1 & 2 First 2 images: Designs to Styling work by me for LA based fashion denim brand 3: Creative Direction and design work by me for my clothing line 4: Creative Direction and design work by me for my clothing line 5: Barton Perreira Campaign 2021 SS – Styling by me, Photographer by M.K.Sadler 6: Upcycle portrait with Rooster – Creative Direction and Styling by me, Photographer by Dorit Thies 7: Costume Design by me for Lady Gaga Music Video “Judas” 8: Styling by me for Imagine Dragons Music Video “I bet in my life”

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in