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Meet James Yukawa of Bolla

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Yukawa.

James, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I thank and owe everything that has happened to my life to skateboarding. As skateboarders, we are naturally creative on and off our boards. We strive to showcase to our creativity; everything from drawing, photography, film, fashion, etc. It’s all connected and a part of our lifestyle.

Growing up, I would always draw my favorite cartoon characters and my love of skateboard graphics is what originally got me interested to the lifestyle in the first place. I always wanted to draw and create my own skateboard graphics. I looked up to artists such as Sean Cliver, Andy Jenkins, Marc Mckee, Evan Hecox, and Jim Phillips.

I have been working in the skateboard industry for the past 13 years and just being involved with buying and consulting with different brands, I had opportunities to do production.

I always drew graphics, so my friend asked me why I don’t try printing on some t-shirts. I was against it at first, but he got me to do a small run and the rest is history. Thank you Scott!

I started it out with t-shirts, which then evolved to more garments and by accident it became an apparel and accessory brand, but I am not limited to it. Bolla is always evolving and getting into so many things!

My inspiration behind the brand is always rooted in skate, street and art but I design and create so many different items, so I have the privilege of not being categorized in one category or industry!

Has it been a smooth road?
I went BIG too quickly, big as in I wasted a lot of money and time looking and comparing myself to bigger and established brands in my industry. I wanted to look cool and seem like I was the best but in reality, I wasn’t… nowhere even close… pshh even to this day, haha! But I was young and dumb. I wanted to sit at the grown-ups table and was eager to be like them. It made me fall out of love and I wanted to quit. I wish I grew at my own pace and I stayed true to my heart and feelings.

Another one is TIME and managing it!

I have so many things on my plate every single day and so many people depend of me. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t know where to put my attention to. I have so many hats on its hard balancing it out and figuring out which one to wear! It’s incredibly hard and I have been working on it. I’m getting better… slowly but it’s definitely a challenge!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Bolla story. Tell us more about the business.
Bolla is an independent brand based out of the heart of Los Angeles that offers quality goods, released in limited quantities. Inspired by skateboarding, art, design, pop/street culture, and the people who surround them. Bolla is a juxtaposition of traditional men’s wear meets high-end lifestyle fashion, infused with fine art and design.

Created in 2004 merely as a side art project consisting of street art and stickers of bubbles, in 2010 we incorporated our passion for art, design, fashion, skateboarding, and the technical skills gained throughout the years to evolve this project further into the brand it is today.

Bolla strives to create classic, clean designs and timeless pieces in a variety of styles for the modern day renaissance man. Each piece is constructed with thought, care, a story, and commitment of bringing each customer a quality made product that they will want to hold on to.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Big box retailers and brands will die and go out of business left and right. The traditional shopping system (malls, pop-up markets, flea markets, craft fairs, trade shows) will also disappear but really well thought out and good retail will rise and make a huge impact.

There will be a huge push in creating more interactive experiences for our community and customers. Whether it’s pop-ups, events or shopping, there will be a growth in more people interacting with brands in-real-life.

Also a huge push in collaborating with more brands, creatives and like-minded individuals.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
James Rivas, Grace Prock

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