Yuka Yoneda

Who Am I ?

YUKA YONEDA

September 2011

1: Who am I?

I’m an octagonal peg in a round hole. Actually, strike that. I don’t really know who I am. I just said that because I thought it sounded cool. I guess I’m just a person that tries to sound cool. Kinda sad, but true.

2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?

I’m an editor for Inhabitat.com and the founder of Clossette.com. At Inhabitat, my job is to showcase the best world-changing architecture and design on the interwebs. Clossette’s a bit of a different story; right now, I’m trying to raise money for Japan by selling off my wardrobe. I’m also trying to show people that consuming clothes by going to a store and buying what “fashion” tells you to isn’t the only way. We have a choice! You can control fashion if you want to. Turn the tables on it before it even knew what hit it. If even one person who reads Clossette decides to walk past the department store or retailer they usually shop at and head to a secondhand shop, a vintage boutique, or a local mom and pop to get their clothes, I’ll feel like I accomplished something with my life.

3: Where are you from and where are you going?

I’m from a dark place. A weird place. I’m from Queens. Queens gets a bit of a bad rap but, in my opinion, it’s the rawest, realest borough of them all. Plus we all know the food is great. In a less literal sense, I’m from a place of denial. Denying my heritage because I wanted to be “American,” and then realizing when it was too late how jealous I was of “real” Japanese people. Denying my shortcomings, denying my hideous toes (which are ironically due to trying to deny my big feet as a teenager and squish my feet into size 7 shoes), denying my freakish (for an Asian) height, and denying the fact that I’m a big scaredy cat. But I’m headed towards a place where I accept–and even like–all of these things.  I guess that’s what growing up is about, right? Lately I’ve been wearing heels so I can look even bigger. It’s wonderful.

4: Who is your biggest hero?

My biggest hero is definitely my dad. He was shot and killed when I was a kid because he was trying to fight off these guys who broke into our house. A few years before that, some guys (not sure if they were the same ones, and the cops sure as hell don’t care–seriously, they aren’t doing crap about this) grabbed us and broke in and killed my dog, Sheba. I begged my dad to let us move but he wouldn’t so I began to hate him. And I told him that if anyone ever broke in again, he should not fight. I was so blinded by anger that when he died I almost had an “I told you so” moment. It was awful. But when I finally came to terms with it, I saw that he did what he did because he was protecting his family, which I think is the most meaningful thing a person can do. Some people change the world but they aren’t good enough to their families. I don’t want to be that person.

5: What book is your bible?

I love A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink. Basically it’s about how “creative” types have been looked down upon in society for a long time in comparison to business people, mathematicians, doctors, and lawyers. But all of that is changing now. You know how little kids love art and being imaginative but as you get older and older, there’s almost like a shame that comes along with it? What people think but don’t say aloud when you’re at a cocktail party and you say “I’m an artist”? I, myself, have always felt that as a creative person who wasn’t great at math, I was at some sort of disadvantage. But with the advent of modern technology and even artificial intelligence that can do the jobs of accountants and other left-brain thinkers just as well as a human can, the true value of right-brain, creative thinkers is coming to light. A robot may be able to calculate but can it dream? Can it imagine? Can it truly create? That’s the argument that Pink makes, and he has some pretty solid real-world evidence and examples to back it up. It’s a fascinating read that makes me feel proud of the skills I have, even though they are ones that can’t be quantified like those of someone who can divvy up a bill at a restaurant really quickly can (I really suck at that).

6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?

Love: Cheese, my family, fashion, sleeping, being really, really dirty and then taking a shower, organizing things, thinking, colors, plants, clever sayings, mixing sweet and salty, irony, ironing, liquor, bows, plaid, Stephen Colbert, Ron Swanson, chocolate covered pretzels, cats, mac and cheese, Shin, treehouses, shipping container architecture, onesies.

Hate: Wet hair, any hair that isn’t attached to a head, mean people, people who don’t think before they speak, back pain, things that are not the same being grouped together in a drawer, inconsistency, social media (if my boss sees this, I am sorry Jill, but it’s really frying my brain–it’s not natural!), fruity cocktails, pricetags that won’t come off because they’re too sticky, assholes (both kinds), people who hurt animals.

7: What is your raison d’être?

I can’t say that I have a reason yet. Maybe it’s just to negate the evil Yuka that exists in another dimension and keep things equalized.

8: What is your favorite color?

Cheese. Just kidding…navy blue.

9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?

That’s a hard one. The ambiguously gay duo? Or I guess if I have to pick just one, Captain Planet. I’m pretty sure he was voiced by Tom Cruise, right?

10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?

Any of the bars in my neighborhood. I know it’s far for people who don’t live in Queens, but if you want to eat a ton of really delicious meat (sorry vegetarians) for really cheap and wash it down with beer and soju at prices that wouldn’t believe, come to Flushing. New York mag just featured a few places close to me in its last issue.

11: What turns you on?

Valor, kindness, nerds, meatiness, cheese.

12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

“If you were about to be executed, what would you want your last meal to be?”

Her friends call her Yukabeast. She is a writer, designer, and crafter, who is trying to make the world less shitty. By day, she is an editor at Inhabitat, a web-magazine devoted to the future of sustainable design. At night, she sits at her sewing machine and transforms lonely, unwanted clothes into beautiful belles of the ball for her clothing line, Clossette. She thinks of it as a Cinderella story, except that the garments are Cinderella and I’m the fairy godmother. The clothes she makes have almost no impact on the environment (except maybe the electricity she uses for her sewing machine and lamp) because they are all recycled. She is proud of her clothing because they are one of a kind.

LINKS:

Yuka Yoneda’s Website

Facebook Page

Twitter: @yukayoneda

Google+

Blog

Questions by PMc Magazine

Edited by Meaghan Coffey

Photography by Yuka Yoneda

Design by Jillian Mercado

Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”


Caption:

Yuka Yoneda and her mannequin have a special relationship, Floral dress and pillows by Clossette, 2011, Photography by Yuka Yoneda

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