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.  

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Comments (15)

  1. Serdane says:

    I love this look very in the countrywoman look.
    http://www.younglington.wordpress.com

  2. Very interesting!
    missredsocks.blogspot.com

  3. Sóley says:

    Love this, thanks for sharing.
    It’s obvious how much the designer cares about what she’s doing.
    I actually don’t have an apron where I live right now and I was really tempted to order one (although I probably wouldn’t dare risk spilling something on it) but I, and I’m sorry to be a downer, think the international shipping charges are a bit high. But on the other hand, the items themselves are reasonably priced.
    Anyway, it’s beautiful, it’s cute and I’m craving a Smock de Jardin.
    - Sóley
    we are purple

  4. mouse says:

    gorgeous pictures.

  5. You’ve got such a sharp eye for composing unique outfits, brilliant!
    http://matchalattewardrobe.blogspot.com/

  6. Hannah says:

    Such a haunting video. Definitely won’t be forgotten any time soon!

  7. Beautiful products, I agree with the principal of Mother in that feminism is today almost irrelevant, it was a battle our mother fought, but our generation doesn’t have to fight for their place in the world, but rather to define it. Caring about one’s appearence isn’t not being femisnist, it’s saying I am secure enough to look beautiful for me and only me.

  8. mayaautumn says:

    Those fabrics are beautiful! I especially love the quilt-like one at the bottom.
    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  9. happyugly says:

    these are the most horrible clothes i’ve never seen in my life. c’mon are we all crazy? where is human beauty with its strong and healthy nature? where are women’s feelings and feminity? I will do my best to never dress like a mormon grandMOTHER!

  10. happyugly says:

    femisist is dress like this? If I need to cover my body under these clothes to feel beutiful and secure ENOUGH -look at this, ENOUGH!- is that something really wrong is going on. C’mon don’t you feel proud of your body that you hide it? And I’m not talking about being a sexbomb dressed in latex, I’m just talking about wearing some nice neckline and feeling confortable in pants. Don’t you feel save in mini-skirt? In that case maybe we should evaluate the excesses of sexist attitudes or even the lack of that feminism you talk about.

  11. Laura says:

    I have to agree-while they look really well-made and thoughtful, my gut reaction is “repression.” These are the costumes of women who slaved away with no rights or mobility in society. Not to get all political, but the clothes are so anti-sex! Why pretend like you belong to a religious organization that wants to put you in your place, unless you’re trying to make some kind of statement? I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m overthinking this. I just felt such a strong reaction seeing these pictures.
    I do wish the designer good luck-I want to support my fellow woman and admire anyone who can quit their dayjob to support their passion. I guess I want more of explanation about this collection, though! Much love-L.

  12. happyugly says:

    Thanks Laura for your understanding. Maybe me too I’m overthinking this. I do support entrepreneurs and I feel when sth is done with care- it’s only that I wouldn’t like this style to become a mainstream.

  13. susie_bubble says:

    An interesting discussion going on here and perhaps I might ask Yokoo to come back to address this.
    I’ll keep my thoughts brief because of time but I think the point we need to ask here is that can’t we celebrate the fact that we have the FREEDOM to dress in aprons, sweet collars and prim attire because we have advanced enough in society so that women don’t have to feel apologetic about wearing this IF they should like to. It comes down to personal taste, no?
    Can’t we get to the point where we don’t look at clothing like this and think of it as “repressive/regressive” and just look at it as another aesthetic choice in life?
    Laura’s point about the religious cult and anti-sex thing is a good one though. I’m in favour of FREEDOM of dress though and if that means you do want to don an apron and wear a buttoned up shirt, that should be the natural prerogative of the woman.
    Likewise if you want to wear a super short miniskirt, a bra and a shirt out and about – that’s also another prerogative.

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