Newport Beach’s Yokishop Transforms Leftover Fabrics into New Apparel

For 35 years, the Newport Beach resident Jeff Yokoyama created and was the designer for a series of iconic clothing brands, including Maui & Sons and Pirate Surf. Now the 61-year-old entrepreneur and owner of Yokishop in Newport Beach takes leftover fabrics and clothes (UCLA uniforms and even old beach towels) and transforms them into a line of handmade apparel called Yoki’s Garden. His business model is to “design, make, and sell different,” and he hopes others will make similar changes in the industry.

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Photograph by Sean Teegarden

How did Yoki’s Garden get started?
About 10 years ago my daughter was playing volleyball at the University of Oregon. I watched the games and watched the abundance of gear they got, and I wondered where all of it went. The equipment managers said they sell it to garage sales … but they also throw away tons.

Was that the inspiration to start using recycled materials?
I thought, “How could I do this and make a difference?” Landfills don’t just affect me, or you, they affect everyone.

Any upcoming projects you can let us in on?
Hypebeast (Hong Kong-based online retailer), Levi’s, and myself are doing this collaboration on the first repurposed 501. Levi’s sent me a pant, which was in splatter paint, and said we can’t do anything with it. So they gave it to me. I took off the fly area where I recaptured all their tack buttons. I recaptured the pocket area, the waistband, the belt loops, and the back pocket, and then I installed them all on a new pair of pants, which we made here.

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