Interview with Marina, Fashion designer in Japan
Half Spanish and Russian, Marina grew up in a creative and multicultural environment between Switzerland, Spain and Russia. She studied in an Haute Couture School in Paris, focused on Fashion Design. With foreign cultures as a strong inspiration, she particularly admired Japan and she decided to focus her new collection on Japanese culture.
What inspires me the most is a country’s culture and each of my collection is like a travel through land & time. The reason why I wanted to go to Tokyo was to develop a Japanese collection.
As she set her goal to live in Japan, she applied from abroad to several high fashion companies in order to land a job in her industry in Tokyo. Marina got hired by the firm, Volga Volga, and moved to Tokyo in September 2015. Greatly inspired by Hokusai and Hayao Miyazaki, she was enthusiastic to start a new life in Tokyo where she has great inspiration for her creativity.
Apart from “arigatou gozaimasu”, she knew nothing about Japanese language and she communicated through gesture and drawings on a notepad. In her company, Volga Volga, she was able to speak in Russian. However, most of the staff are Japanese. She quickly realized the importance of learning Japanese. As soon as she heard about Coto Japanese Academy from a friend who participated in the Crash Course, she signed up for 16 weeks of the Intensive Course. She was able to arrange her working schedule to fit the morning classes with her company.
The school’s atmosphere is very nice, with students from all ages and a study area where I was able to quietly concentrate on my study. The teachers are very kind. They adapt easily to each student’s level. My Japanese entourage could tell I was improving and my friends became keener to have longer discussions on many interesting topics.
Marina was able to get hired with no Japanese skills and she believes it should not stop you from applying from abroad. Working as a fashion designer in Japan is not easy, but improving her Japanese helped her greatly and her daily life was becoming more comfortable. Every week, she works on new fashion designs and photo shoot. She discovered that the way fashion industry works in Japan is different from Europe and she felt this is an incredible experience.
My advice to all newcomers in Tokyo? Join a Japanese school in order to meet many great people that will become your friends or even your colleagues! I met great friends in my class with whom I am still in touch with. We spoke about everything: Japan, Japanese people, our lives, cultures’ differences but what we shared the most is laugh!
The next challenge for Marina as a fashion designer in Japan is to finish her personal collection, started in September. She spent her weekends and her free time working on it. Her sketches are ready and she has started working on fabrics and stitching.
My goal is to learn more Japanese vocabulary in order to speak about my creation and about the History of Japanese Fashion.
She would like to build her own knitwear label, inspired by Asia. Maybe one day, you will see Marina’s very own capsule collection in fashion shops!
Take a peek at her personal website to discover Marina’s inspiration!