more
people

Akina Sato Shares Her Favorite Vintage Finds

Akina Sato’s style is a happy mix of vintage, designer pieces, and weird items.
Akina Sato Shares Her Favorite Vintage Finds

“I am a wife, a buyer, and seller of vintage clothing (online and at the Rose Bowl Flea Market). I design a brand called Chemist which is inspired by vintage clothing and based on the concept of using existing materials to create wearable art. I also work with my partner Andrew as the North American sales agent of a Japanese brand called Readymde.

Poncho, shirt, and pants printed with 1969 Baron Wolman’s Woodstock photo print / 80s platforms
Poncho, shirt, and pants printed with 1969 Baron Wolman’s Woodstock photo print / 80s platforms

I liked vintage when I still lived in Japan, but when I moved to the US about 10 years ago, I was charmed by the way of life in LA and since I was so much closer to so much vintage I really fell in love with it.

I don’t really wear vintage in the way that it was styled at the time.

Rather, I enjoy mixing eras, combining them with modern and designer fashion to create my own style.

30s necktie patchwork long coat from Brimfield Antique Market
70s designer feather hat / 60s sweatshirt
Martin Margiela Tabi boots
30s necktie patchwork long coat from Brimfield Antique Market
70s designer feather hat / 60s sweatshirt
Martin Margiela Tabi boots

When I look at vintage items, I think about how each of them was used and cared for in such a way that they still exist today. Almost every item is unique, with its own history passing from owner to owner, occasionally being customized (embroidered, cut, patched, etc), with color or fabric damage that tells a story. I think that story in each piece is what is really special about vintage clothing.

I have clothing with holes or damage, but I think of each of those flaws as an irreplaceable part of that particular piece of art. I start to see it as a map of the item’s life, and it fosters a sense of nostalgia.

40s hat / 30s patchwork top / 50s knit pants
40s hat / 30s patchwork top / 50s knit pants

I purchased this 30s handmade oversize patchwork top at Brimfield Antique Market. It looks like this is a clown costume that was cut, but I wear it as an oversized top. I love the way it wears while keeping some of the original feeling.

I love mixing colorful, weird items, vintage or designer, to try and create a one-of-a-kind style.

Right now I love mixing flared pants and bell-bottoms with 30s costumes.

I like the design of 70s black light posters and psychedelic prints, and 90s Comme des Garcons-like clown outfits. I’m also into polka dots and swirls patterns right now.

I’ve loved Martin Margiela since I was in my teens, particularly when Martin was still designing for the brand.

I love how he would find inspiration in everyday items and create something completely unique, something that no one else could make. I feel his inspiration when designing for my own brand as well.

I have been collecting Margiela Tabi boots since I was younger. Between boots, long boots, mules, and pumps, I have about 30 pairs.

BLESS down knit sweater, 70s skirt
40s clown costume shoes bought from a friend
BLESS down knit sweater, 70s skirt
40s clown costume shoes bought from a friend

There are people whose style I admire, or occasions when I think a look is cool, but I don’t have someone that I think of as an icon. I think even if I admire someone, I wouldn’t look like them even if I wore the same outfit. So many things go into fashion, especially a person’s body. I will look at other people’s styles, but go back to my closet and choose something that suits me.

30s handmade swallowtail jacket worn with a 70s leather long fringe vest
30s handmade swallowtail jacket worn with a 70s leather long fringe vest

My favorite places to shop vintage in Los Angeles are Raggedy Threads Vintage in Little Tokyo, Meow Vintage in Long Beach, Golyester Vintage in West Hollywood, and Vintage On Hollywood in Silverlake.

Online and at flea markets my favorites are The Goods, Strange Desires, Irons and Duck, Please and Thank you Store, Gypsy Hunter, Winning and Losing, and Antique Wardrobe.

40s hat / 30s patchwork top / 70s patchwork pants
40s hat / 30s patchwork top / 70s patchwork pants

My fashion sense today will be old tomorrow, so I just try to think about what I want to wear right now.”

Follow Akina on Instagram @akyana