Home > Japanique Boutique > Artisan Profiles > Saori Zarraga
Meet Saori Zarraga from the UK

Saori Zarrage of WaToYo
Facebook: @szwatoyo
Instagram: @watoyouk

Tell us about yourself, your business… I was born and grew up in Kanagawa, Japan. I studied fashion and textile designs and have worked as an in-house fashion designer for several apparel companies in Tokyo. I’ve been living overseas since 2012 and realized I was just interested in western cultures when I was living in Japan and I started appreciating Japanese culture more. When I inherited some kimonos from my grandmother, I started learning how to wear them, at the same time I came up with the idea of upcycling vintage kimono fabrics. There is a phrase in Japanese “mottainai” which conveys a sense of regret over waste. Vintage kimono fabrics are beautifully crafted but so many kimonos have been neglected. I wanted to give them a new life. I wanted kimonos to be closer to our daily life, to be worn more casually and in the modern way. That’s how I started WaToYo. WaToYo means "Japanese" and "western" in Japanese. I want to create mixed styles of WaToYo (Japanese and western) using vintage kimono fabric or Japanese craft technical styles.

How would you describe your art/craft? Upcycle/re-purpose vintage Japanese kimono fabrics.

What kinds of items do you sell? What is the price range? Vintage Japanese kimono fashion accessories and clothes. Prices from £4.00 - £60

How long have you been doing this? I opened my Etsy shop in November 2019.

Have you travelled to Japan? Usually, I visit Japan once a year but I haven’t been there for 2 years due to the Covid-19.

What is your favorite thing about working with kimono fabric? I feel excited when I think about what I’m going to make into with each fabric.

What is the most challenging thing about working with kimono fabric? The width of the kimono fabric is narrow, so that I have to think of shapes with the limitation when I remake kimono into clothes.

See more of Saori's creations below: