Yokoo, for a lot of longtime Etsy followers and sellers represents one of the site's breakout success stories. She could well have been content with her business of knitting up a chunky storm for life but she's now officially diversified to create a new Etsy store, Mother. I suspect the thinking was that if she chucked the towel in with the day job, why not go the whole hog and pursue all those creative inner desires.
"Mother stems from the desire to rid the fashion world of the notion that modern feminism is the absence of femininity. But true feminism is not the ability to rid oneself of the guilt that gives us "boundaries" whether that be the guilt of anxiety, domesticity, or the good old fashion Saturday-Morning-Walk-Of-Shame. I wanted to design clothes for true feminist. Women who are not afraid to be women," says Yokoo in an email, explaining the ideology behind Mother.
That's quite a statement for an indie shop on Etsy, which I think speaks volumes about Yokoo's ambition. Her stance towards redefining feminism with her designs is a topical one though. Of course no designer ever says "My customer is a woman who cowers and quivers in the presence of men." But when they trot out the oft-used phrase of "strong, independent woman", has that just become a loose umbrella term that is slightly disingenuous. Yokoo therefore draws some well defined lines when it comes to her prospective customer. "I feel the 60's/70's feminism was one suffering to be accepted, while the 80's/90's suffered from a desire to feel dominant. Mother attempts to represent the balance – women who are simply comfortable with being themselves."
This might seem like a mis-correlation with the immaculately made collars and aprons that are currently on site but bear in mind Mother is still in soft launch and we are to expect dresses and jumpers in the coming months. Mother's pinnies and collars fall right in line with the idea that hyper femininity, seen this season in fashion and is a form of freedom rather than a shackle to women. "I may be wearing an apron but I'm not going to be slavishly baking and cooking for you and if I do, that's a personal choice." is the same thing as "I may be wearing a fluffy marabou jacket and short lacey shorts but I'm not an airhead or a slut."
Furthermore, the current Mother offerings fit right in to The Good Life aesthetic that I'm wistfully pondering, fed by Japanese labels like ASEEDONCLOUD and the film Shiawase no Pan. Donning an apron as a style statement to me goes hand in hand with our current obsession with a well nourished domestic life that includes good bread, ingredients with provenance and all that garb, in face of breakdown in the external political and economic world. The smocks and the long and short aprons are for me, nifty layering devices that don't necessarily need to be put into the context of the good life and as Yokoo's styling shows, they can seamlessly slot in and out of outfits without over emphasising the original function of the garment. If the apron is a stretch for some but the neat rounded collars which Yokoo has termed "Le Papillon" will be an easier foray into the world of Mother.
Yokoo hasn't left anything out in the execution of her new Etsy store. From the logo to lookbook to campaign video, she has put in much thought and consideration into much every step. These extra touches will be useful in differentating her aprons and collars from others that do exist on Etsy. The video in particular leaves a lasting impression. It pretty much sums up Mother's latently strange stirrings beneath the pretty fabrics, perfectly tied apron strings and well-positioned collars.