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Shihara and Yutai: Two Manufacturers, One Designer

Dealing with the minimalist but intricate jewellery items of Shihara by no means fails to unveil hidden options and treasures. Necklaces designed with out standard clasps, the place the fastening contraption is built-in into the design, or practical elements of earrings reminiscent of catches and posts used as a part of the general design, are only a few examples of the numerous progressive creations of Shihara.

The designer behind the model is Yuta Ishihara, 35, who at the moment lives and works in Tokyo. His design philosophy considers jewellery from a theoretical standpoint, whereas updating the standard guidelines, features and construction of bijou right into a cleaner, streamlined and delightful design. “Jewellery could possibly be considered as one thing that folks put on to decoration or embellish themselves, however my designs, which regularly have a number of choices for the way they are often worn, are supposed to convey out and spotlight the great thing about the wearer’s persona,” he says.

Ishihara doesn’t design for a selected gender or age group in thoughts. “With minimal ornamental components, the unconventional but practical constructions seamlessly join the physique to boost magnificence. Due to this fact, I supposed it to be accessible to all so far as age and gender are involved,” he provides.

Design and Supplies

For his Shihara label, Ishihara completely works with yellow gold and two white metals: white gold and platinum. “My favourite materials is definitely yellow gold and I particularly like utilizing 18K gold,” he says. Nevertheless, most of his items are additionally out there in platinum and white gold. “My items are usually smaller and extra delicate, so the fabric must be sturdy sufficient to keep up its form but additionally be delicate sufficient to create the superb traces that I would like. I see quite a lot of potential for gold in the way in which that it’s processed and the way in which that it may be used whereas mixing metals could make the fabric stronger than we imagine it to be. Silver tends to be too comfortable for the designs I wish to create.”

Ishihara’s jewellery design is about incorporating the {hardware} and fittings into the designs of the items. “{Hardware} reminiscent of necklace clasps, earring posts are sometimes standardized, and its designs and functionalities are not often addressed,” he says.

“Nevertheless, this additionally implies that I find yourself re-defining the features and wearability of bijou. Once I design, I prefer to reexamine the functionalities of the {hardware} and incorporate that perform into the design by re-defining and reimagining the way in which it’s worn,” he continues.

He describes, for instance, his 3D earring sequence. They’re delicate constructions formed like cubes, pyramids and rectangles that are available in small, medium or massive sizes. “The put up of the earring is hid throughout the design of the 3D geometric kinds so when the earring is worn, you can not see the put up itself.”

Shihara 3D earrings

On these designs, one aspect of the three-dimensional kind opens up as a put up. The looks of the earring modifications relying on the place the middle of gravity is positioned. When worn on the ear, at any stage, it appears as if a three-dimensional construction is enveloping it.

For his One Stone necklace, a gold chain adorned with a complicated round-shaped pendant paved with diamonds, he designed a particular clasp that’s hidden below the diamond. “It permits the necklace to have a clear minimal look the place the clasp just isn’t seen in any respect,” he says.

This fashion, the one who wears it would not need to preserve fidgeting all through the day, turning the chain round their neck to ensure the clasp just isn’t seen.

One other one in every of his favourite items is the Bond ring sequence, particular person diamond-adorned rings that may be worn on their very own or stacked with others — a bit like a puzzle or Tetris sport. “The Bond ring sequence was particularly designed as a stacking ring however as a substitute of getting the rings stack on prime of one another, I designed them to be worn interlocking into one another,” he feedback.

Shihara Bond rings

Ishihara works with particular person craftsmen and firms situated in each Tokyo and Yamanashi, a prefecture recognized for jewellery manufacturing and craftsmanship. Actually, Yamanashi is crucial jewellery producer in Japan, as a result of presence of rock crystal in its northern mountains and total wealthy geology. Yamanashi can be the place Ishihara was born and raised. However in contrast to most of his classmates, he determined to go away when it got here time to pursue increased training. “Again then, I mentioned it with my household and we determined there can be extra alternatives in Tokyo. If I had gone to highschool in Yamanashi, I might have stayed there, and I do not assume issues can be the place they’re now,” he says.

Bricks and Mortar

Arriving in Tokyo, he enrolled in a three-year program at Hiko Mizuno School of Jewellery and graduated in 2007. “I made a decision to remain in Tokyo and took private orders from buddies to create custom-made marriage ceremony jewellery,” he provides. The affable inventive formally launched Shihara in 2010, when he was simply 23 years outdated.

In 2014, the model’s first flagship retailer, Shihara Lab, opened in Harajuku on a quiet avenue behind the primary Omotesando boulevard. It is an intimate house with a concrete inside and a big mirror. The partitions are outfitted with magnets to vertically show the jewellery, which additionally saves house and makes it simple to vary the shows at any time.

In 2015, Ishihara began working with a UK-based showroom that took on US and Asian markets and that is when he began promoting internationally. Shihara is now offered at over 300 retailers all around the world, together with Farfetch and SSense.

Shihara Dover Road Market Ginza

There may be one other Shihara retailer in Osaka and in March 2022, a everlasting Shihara house that includes massive white chests of drawers opened at Dover Road Market Ginza. Referring to that individual idea, Ishihara says, “it was primarily based on an concept drawn from specimen drawers you’d see at an archeological lab or pure historical past museum.”

When requested about how he feels concerning the fast development of Shihara, he provides he was stunned by its worldwide success. “I wasn’t considering that far forward again once I began,” he says.


When the coronavirus pandemic hit again in 2020, it gave Ishihara a chance to focus extra on the superb jewellery model Yutai, his different assortment. Each Shihara and Yutai are phrase performs on his identify: Since his first model was named Shihara, not utilizing the i from his final identify, he determined so as to add that i to his first identify to create Yutai, so it is all linked. To design the one-of-a-kind items of Yutai, he makes use of sturdy treasured metals (once more with Yutai he solely works with yellow and white gold, and platinum) but additionally gem stones reminiscent of lemon quartz, blue topaz and pearls. He additionally offers a brand new life to dated setting kinds that have been crafted in Yamanashi Prefecture together with his Revive Rings, utilizing conventional ornamental cocktail ring settings which have been lifted from their unique bands and changed onto trendy, wide-banded rings, giving an antiquated model a facelift.

Yutai Revive ring

The steadiness of his Shihara model helped him finance his second model. He appreciates the flexibleness of switching between creating the totally different kinds. “With Shihara, we work with supplies that may be replicated so we will produce items on demand,” he says. (For instance, some issues are already in inventory on the store, whereas different gadgets need to be made-to-order.) “However with Yutai,” he provides, “what you see is what you get.” Rihanna has been photographed carrying the jade model of the Yutai Sectional necklace. This piece takes the acquainted single-strand pearl necklace however splices in sections of different supplies, polished and hand-hammered to match the form of the pearls, reminiscent of jade or ruby ​​gem stones. “Every bit is exclusive,” ​​he says. Identical to for his Shihara assortment, the clasp, hidden throughout the strand, mirrors the form of the pearls and is mounted with a keyhole-shaped mechanism.

“I really began designing this assortment in 2012, and over time I saved including items to it,” Ishihara says. He launched Yutai in December 2021 at Bergdorf Goodman in New York and at Dover Road Market in Ginza, in spring 2022. “Since these are all one-of-a-kind items, we won’t launch them at totally different locations on the similar time. Relying on the fabric, some issues will be made like the items now we have, however some issues can’t be created, and pure supplies at all times differ from each other.”

“For Yutai, extra course of goes into it, however the background of Shihara helped me, and made me secure sufficient to concentrate on this model,” he feedback. “At markets, supplies usually need to be purchased in money, so you actually need to have a secure background enterprise. It could have been very troublesome to launch Yutai with out the Shihara background. Every little thing I construct is one hundred pc with my very own cash.”