“Mariko Aramaki, a Kwantlen Polytechnic University graduate originally got her start in the fashion industry after completing an internship with Manuel Mendoza, a Vancouver based custom bridal shop. However, this up and coming designer’s interest in bridal, evening and flamenco wear started long before her debut into Vancouver’s fashion scene.

 

At 24 years old Mariko Aramaki credits much of her personality as a designer to her formative years growing up on Vancouver’s West side. Growing up, Mariko’s parents put a strong emphasis on retaining a sense of continuity with their Japanese heritage while fully embracing a North West coast way of life. The middle among three children, Mariko was always trying new things. She first developed an interest in fashion while watching her mother sew. Before long she learned how to work the sewing machine on her own and even began making many of her own clothes. This hobby soon blossomed into a passion as Mariko was rarely seen without a sketchbook full of future designs. By the end of her high school years, it became clear that Mariko was destined for a career in fashion.

 

Shortly after graduation, Mariko entered Kwantlen Polytechnic University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design and Technology in 2010. Aramaki  spent her time at Kwantlen honing both her technical skills as well as her design aesthetic to reflect her natural affinity for clothing that exudes grace, femininity and a certain “je ne sais quois’. As a student, Mariko travelled to Lyon, France for a summer semester to study French fashion history and textiles. That experience affirmed Mariko’s keen interest in producing work that echoes the French flair for combining modern and traditional styles.

 

Aramaki’s involvement in the flamenco community had a profound influence on her art. A dancer herself, Aramaki was drawn to the vivid colors and fluid shapes of flamenco performance wear. As she gained experience and notoriety as a dancer with Centro Flamenco, she also got keen insight into the construction of the dresses themselves. Her insider knowledge of a dancer’s needs allowed Mariko to design well crafted gowns while retaining much of the magic of the dance, which quickly became a second passion in her life.

 

After finishing her studies at Kwantlen, Mariko worked on expanding her portfolio by creating new custom designs as a freelancer. During this time Mariko made inroads into Vancouver’s fashion community by exhibiting her work locally and putting together a website. Recently, Mariko has decided to return to France and is currently living in Paris. There, she plans to expand her professional repertoire while being fully immersed in the French fashion landscape. Wherever she ends up, one can be sure that Mariko will continue to create and inspire through her unique pieces.

 By Lena Karaush

Mariko’s designs at www.marikoaramaki.com