Interview with Fumi Lee

video @Cage Photo

The future of the denim industry from a global perspective

Ms. Fumi Lee is a worldwide fashion activist. She thinks that Fashion is everything of Food, clothing and housing. Based in Singapore, she has launched her own brand that focus on culture and environment in 2022, and expanding her activities globally. Through the interview to Ms. Fumi Lee, who is a big fan of denim, it is focused on the future of the denim industry in Kojima form her global perspective.

We want to support Japanese craftsmanship.

As Ms. Fumi Lee wear jeans so stylish today as well, please tell us why you are focusing on denim “Now”?

Ms. Fumi Lee:

Obviously, the reason is I love denim. Since I was young, denim items are lined up in my closet, I can tell my fashion is based on denim. Denim is the best item expressing myself in fashion and create original styles. There are no such wonderful items other than that.

Currently, Denim is a world trend, but as I think, it is one of the big categories in fashion that never go out of style, not just a trend comes in and out of fashion.

Also, I want to support the Japanese manufacturing. Okayama denim is known to those in the know and famous among people in fashion industry. But when it sells it in other countries, there is not mentioned the origin of manufacturing like “Made in Okayama” or “Made in Kojima”. That is the point I felt something not right.

While Japanese denim are praised in the world and be proud of it, I want to share more “Made in Okayama” and “Made in Kojima.”

Generation to carry on Japanese technology

What is the reason you chose YutoRi18 to experience denim processing that is a local industry in Kojima?

Ms. Fumi Lee:

I even think that I was chosen to do it.

When I visited YutoRi18 factory, I got a culture shocked from the youth and the energy of YutoRi18.

While there are many young craftsmen, they were actually real ones have been experiencing for 10 to 15 years in the industry

I found out that they absolutely are the generation carrying on Japanese skills. That is the reason why I chose YutoRi18.

To transmit the energy of Japanese manufacturing

You mentioned about the inheritance of Japanese skills, please tell us your thoughts about denim industry in Kojima.

Ms. Fumi Lee:

Inheriting Craftsmen skills is becoming culture. Craftsmen skills has been taken over for generations. I believe that supporting young craftsmen leads to the future of manufacturing. That is exactly 温故知新(onko-chishinin Japanese, meaning learning new from the past.

I think that it is worth for people like me, who living in overseas, to share the energy of Japanese manufacturing as one of the supports for the future of manufacturing. In the factory of YutoRi18, it is filled with the vitality and the energy should show to the world.

Thoughts and stories that come from her own

For this time, Ms. Fumi Lee’s daughter visited together to Kojima. Please tell us the background of your thoughts that you want to have an experience in the local industry with her.

Ms. Fumi Lee:

My daughter and most of her friends live in overseas for long time. She could possibly live in overseas with not knowing the great culture of Japan. I wanted her to experience “True Japan” through the local industry in Kojima before she is going to overseas again.

Besides, she will be at a university so I want her to discover “a story and thoughts from herself”. I made a plan to experience the local industry with her to find her thoughts, for example, she wants to connect a culture to the future or protect a beautiful environment.

Promoting “Made in Japan” to the world

At last, please tell us your future prospects as a fashion activist.

I would like to create chances to support inheriting great Japanese skills to the future.

It is important to share “Made in Japan” to the world and reach out companies that has same vision with me. And this experience is my first step.

The Japanese quality has been taking over by craftsmen skills, but it is true that it is getting severe situations because of the lack of people and successors.

As one of the ways to support inheriting Japanese culture, I want to keep trying to share the current situation and attracts of the Japanese local industry.

Ms. Fumi Lee discovers the strengths of Japanese in the local industry and the craftsmen skills from her global perspective. We are going to give our attentions her activities of a fashion activist.


Fumi Lee

Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. After studying abroad in Italy, she became fascinated with the world of fashion and interior design and began working between Europe and Japan. After marrying, she further expanded her global lifestyle and moved to Singapore in 2012, where she became a fashion consultant. After moving to Singapore in 2012, she became a fashion consultant and established her own brand, FumiJean, to share the beauty of Japanese culture, traditions, and craftsmanship with the world. She is contributing to the inheritance of Japanese culture through lifestyle and creating opportunities for the next generation. She is the first Japanese member of Vogue 100.