Tokyo based brand since 2017. Designed from the inspiration of traditional Japanese wear in minimal fashion.
KAYKO started when the designer saw the opportunity to express her cultural heritage and be creative.
KAYKO (pronouce: ka̠-i-ko) stands for “silkworm” in Japanese, combining her mother’s Japanese name and her name to express gratitude and love for her ancestors.
Through this project we’d like to explore the silk production that flourished in Japan, and textiles and productions that is specially ‘made in Japan’ as well as productions around the world as bridge of culture between Japan and elsewhere.
“KAYKO started as my project to express my cultural background as Japanese, and to learn and pay respect to our ancestors that lived and cultivated life as artisans and craftsmen.
The name KAYKO is a combination of my name and my mother’s name, she studied fashion at VOGUE school of fashion in Chicago and sew the family clothes at young ages. Her mother was a sewer too, born in a successful trading family of “Becchin (velveteen fabrics)” in Niigata prefecture of Japan. Grandmother married a banker, who later managed finance at Japanese gentleman’s hat maker “Tokyo Hat”. His roots comes from the old town of central Tokyo called “Inaricho”, where his family owned a dry food grocery shop for 3 generations located between Asakusa and Ueno. His father was also a skilled crafts maker of “Shamisen”, a traditional Japanese musical instrument. My father’s side worked as production worker of glass blowing factory, and owned a trading business of industrial sewing machines. Later settled down and opened a “Senbei (rice crackers)” shop in Tokyo as the family grew. His roots comes from Gunma prefecture where silk productions glamorously flourished in Japan, and from that roots my family also inherited the architectural brain and craftsman skill that our relatives still continues to do local construction business there. I love all those stories that cultivated our existing richness of life and cultures that we get to live in now, and what we have in our blood.
KAYKO also has another meaning as “silkworm” in Japanese. I grew up right under the beautiful Mount Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture called Fuji Kawaguchiko, where the history of silk textile productions flourished nearby using the pure water of Mt. Fuji. There, my father would let us fully be engaged with our Japanese heritage and culture at youth. We learned the traditional musical instrument “Koto” with 13 strings, in those occasions we get to wear silk kimonos, or take part in “Taiko” practice, a traditional Japanese drums instrument where we wore traditional uniforms called “Hakama” in cotton. I also took part in learning “Buyou”, a traditional form of Japanese dance wearing kimonos and makeup in line of Kabuki. We had various lessons such as “Shodo (calligraphy)”, or “Waka (31‐syllable Japanese poetry)”, many more to name a few. All those memories of childhood experiences inspired me artistically to shape the clothings of KAYKO.
As we grew, my family moved to the United States and Canada where I spent most of my upper year classes, and through business I engaged with European and Danish cultures that opened so much more eye sight to different forms of beauty in design and lifestyle. Since my childhood I always loved to draw, me and my close brother would always do something creative, spontaneously crafting our toys and setting up photoshoots by ourselves, performed well in art categories, and we were crazy over the pop Japanese fashion culture of Harajuku at teenage years. For me to start a brand it was a process to reflect those experiences of who I am, where I came from, and my meaning of what I live for or stand for in this life that I am blessed with. Hearing from my father the history of our ancestors was something I cherish the most, made me realize how unique, beautiful and precious each of our existence is.
I believe ‘life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them’. This KAYKO experience of mine is all that greatness put together, discovering and meeting the manufacturers and artisans who inherited their platform from their ancestors as well, friends I share same aspect along this journey, and through that I’d like to leave traces by producing and creating arts in form of clothing, together introducing the textiles and productions that sparks, or just creating fashion that are simply beautiful, to enhance somebody’s life, or open someone’s eyes, and realize the many gifts of our life, the beauties on this earth and our cultures. Let’s start celebrating.”
To my father who guided us with love, tremendous faith and educations leading us to many enlightenments.
– KAYO SUGIUCHI
For any inquiry, contact us at: email@example.com