Jenn has been working with Fresh Collective for many years now, and I’m impressed to see her passion, drive and dedication unfold over the years. A savvy businessperson, Jenn is equally creative and committed to shaping a new future for fashion with her eco-friendly fabrics and environmentally conscious methods. Jennifer Fukushima is a shining light in the Toronto fashion industry, and an example to emerging designers of what passion, hard work and commitment can bring. I’m proud to have been able to play a part in Jenn’s career all these years, and I am very excited about the future this talented young woman is creating.
– Laura-Jean, Founder and CEO of Fresh Collective
Tunic: Apiomorpha Tunic in purple – Jennifer Fukushima $199
Bag: Parabole – Matt & Nat – $128
(photo: Braeden Miller)
Name: Jennifer Fukushima
Occupation: Designer & owner of Jennifer Fukushima
Lifestyle: Cycling, adventures & live music
What’s a typical day like for you? It really varies depending on the time of year. I spend certain times of the year designing, developing products and production, other times of the year I have a lot of trade shows and sales.
What in your life is really important to you? For me, finding balance has become really important. In my early twenties, I was a workaholic. When I first got my business off the ground as a full time venture I was working morning, noon and night and neglecting my health. It took a number of years to recover from that lifestyle, but I really learned my lesson. You can’t have a successful business if you don’t take care of your health. Today I’m keeping healthy by visiting various practitioners at the Artists’ Health Centre, as well as seeing a Naturopath.
They say that your 30s are the best years of your life and I’m ready to embrace that. I’ve been living in Kensington Market for many years off and on and I just moved into my very first bachelor apartment. I’m surrounded by healthy food choices and minutes away from my Chinatown studio. I’m seeing a new guy who is a talented musician AND photographer (he took these photos by the way). Things couldn’t be better.
Sweater: Cordifolia Cardigan in purple/herringbone – Jennifer Fukushima – $269
Jeans: Yoga Jeans – price varies on style
(photo: Braeden Miller)
What would you like to be remembered for? I find my job to be extremely fulfilling and whether I am remembered or not isn’t something that I’ve ever taken time to consider.
What role does fashion play in your life? That’s a loaded questions for a designer!! As a consumer, I’m always searching for items that are comfortable and functional but also aesthetically pleasing and sustainably designed. That’s a tall order. I’m lucky if I can get 2 of those.
As a designer, I’m aiming to fulfill those requirements with all the products I make.
What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective? I love that I am supporting fellow small business owners and buying intelligently designed, quality merchandise. I love that I know where my clothes were made and that the workers were paid fairly and protected under safe working conditions. And lastly, I feel special, knowing that I’m wearing something that has been produced with so much love and care in such limited quantities.
As designers trying to keep a dying art alive in Canada, we are faced with a lot of challenges. One of the largest obstacles is overseas priced based competition and the consumer mentality that a t-shirt should only cost $15. As part of our new marketing campaign, we’ve created infographics, as a fun way to be transparent about our business and the costs of domestic production.
Dress: Lumaria Dress in Cranberry/Burgundy – Jennifer Fukushima – $269
Necklace: vintage chain with amber glass beads – Curious Oddities – $45
Hat: Tulipifera Tuque – Jennifer Fukushima – $49
Scarf: Persimilus Scarf – Jennifer Fukushima – $110
(photo: Braeden Miller)
What are you up to these days? After 13 years of operating my previous line, Paper People Clothing, I felt it was time for a change. I learned a lot over those 13 years and with that knowledge, I wanted to move forward, keeping my original mission but with a slightly more refined approach. Thus, the Jennifer Fukushima line was born. I’ve taken the unique and eclectic aesthetic of what was Paper People to a new level by using all new high quality natural and ecologically conscious materials. I’ve selected materials based on their quality and durability, taking extra time to test out the fabrics and refine the fit and shape of the garments. Many of my fabrics come from Italy, a country known for its high quality, labour and environmental standards. I’m very happy with how the new line turned out. I hope you are too! Please follow my blog for interviews, behind the scenes photos, inspiration and infographics.
Is there anything else we should know about you? When people first meet me they’re usually shocked to find out that I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It’s true, I’m a small town girl at heart. This city has given me a lot, but eventually I hope to move on to a quieter place. I’m not sure how I’ll facilitate that with a design career but it’s just another exciting challenge in this ever changing industry!
Where can people find you on social media?