Inspiring Future Fashion Designers
Yvonne Chun Izumi has her students in stitches - literally - at Izumi Arts.
“There are Project Runway patterns now, and a lot of girls get inspired by that (TV show),” says Izumi. “They sew because they want to be creative and do something unique to express themselves. It’s not so much because of the frugality.”
One of her students had five proms to attend, and she made two of her prom dresses. Another student came up with her own line of organic dresses.
“I’m trying to revive the art of sewing,” says Izumi. “There is a whole new talented generation out there.”
After students master the basics with cotton, they can move on to other fabrics. She also teaches techniques to adjust patterns. Students also create decorative pillows, totes, quilts and clothing.
Izumi offers two-hour lessons once a week, and in summer sessions lessons are held twice a week in small, semi-private groups. This summer, she has a few openings left - for students who have mastered the intermediate level - in her junior fashion design studio with three-hour sessions twice a week.
“I enjoy teaching them as much as they enjoy learning,” Izumi says. “I make it pleasant for them.”
She has led school projects, and says it’s rewarding to see her students learn how to sew and get into fashion programs for college.
Izumi Arts is located above the iconic fabric store, Kaimuki Dry Goods.
“We literally have all our supplies at our fingertips,” says Izumi. “I can accompany them downstairs if they have a question on what to purchase.”
Izumi’s mom taught her to sew by hand at age 5, and spent weekends sewing with her. She attended sewing school from age 9, and the Maryknoll High School and University of Hawaii School of Fashion Design graduate also taught sewing at age 19 for Singer Company.
Prior to starting her sewing school in 2004, Izumi sold clothing in retail stores, designed children’s clothes, and taught English and art as well.
She says she appreciates the support of her friends and family, especially husband Dennis and their adult children Jonathan and Amber.
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