Sans [ceuticals] | Kristin Dickson-Okuda of Iko Iko

Kristin Dickson-Okuda of Iko Iko

Kristin Dickson-Okuda of Iko Iko

20 - 05 - 24

Kristin Dickson-Okuda has built her creative language from acknowledging an experience’s essence and then making it tangible. This process of design results in Kristin’s brand clothing line Rowena Sartin, and her husband Shin’s furniture project WAKA WAKA, both of which are housed in their Los Angeles-based concept space Iko Iko (Japanese for ‘let’s go!’). And as one would imagine, the energy of such sentiment is laden across all that they create.

For years we have admired Kristin’s approach to concept and construction, creating pieces for the body and home that encourage connection. Becoming a mother has further clarified this vision. Kristin's work is deliberate and bold, unveiled by ego and determined to gently answer some of life’s little questions.

Claire Cottrell visited Kristin at the studio, capturing her in motion, somewhere between problem-solving and play.

Kristin Dickson-Okuda of Iko Iko

Sans Woman

If you’re feeling stuck, or uninspired, how do go about transforming your thoughts?

I turn everything off — remove the distractions of the phone, social media, email, internet. I sit in the silence and do a task that produces a result. Feeling stuck feels unsuccessful and debilitating, so for instance, sewing something that I’ve already figured out gives me a successful result, confidence that can allow me to focus and muse on the unanswered things, on the designs that are unresolved, the destination of what I’m doing in general.

Sans Kristin Dickson Okuda Claire Cottrell 23
Sans Kristin Dickson Okuda Claire Cottrell 9

What practices do you have around analyzing or being critical of your own work?

I’m likely to burn or box up anything I’ve made since I was 20-years-old until I can overcome creative shame. But early ideas can be indicators for smarter and more magnificent concepts later on. It’s often productive to sit with past and present work, even work I’m really proud of, to consider what more (if possible) that idea can give, a re-examination. I don’t want to be creatively repetitive, so that’s the contemplative angle.

"Early ideas can be indicators for smarter and more magnificent concepts later on. It’s often productive [for me] to sit with past and present work to consider what-more (if possible) that idea can give, a re-examination."

How do you overcome feeling anxious or nervous?

I just let those feelings happen and then the energy of a situation or a room relaxes and you can refocus. In a social scenario of unknowns, I tend to ask the other person questions about themselves, their work and let them begin the storytelling to find the connecting point.

Sans Kristin Dickson Okuda Claire Cottrell 7
Sans Kristin Dickson Okuda Claire Cottrell 21

What are some systems you have in place to successfully get out the door on time?

Wake up early, make lunches the night before, get caffeinated and keep breakfast simple.

How do you manage boundaries in relation to technical devices?

I accept that these devices are here to stay, but I remember how my early twenties were very uncomplicated. It was straightforward— a phone was used to call someone or to send a T9 text. You used a Thomas Guide map to get somewhere. Blogs were how you showcased your interests and questions, explored style and curiosities. You had to do more work to discover things and be discoverable, so that was a mysterious element. Not using a device encourages me to remember objects/people/moments in a very particular way so that you can be conscious of that experience of looking/feeling/smelling/listening. I also don’t value documenting every experience. Excessive!

Do you practice any of your family’s traditions from when you were growing up?

By making home cooked meals and hosting family/friend gatherings often, an organized Japanese laundry system by my husband Shin, and every week fresh flowers from walks. On Sundays, if schedules permit, we have a slow start listening to records, a hearty breakfast and a leisurely reading hour.

What rituals do you practice in taking care of yourself?

Exercise/movement in some capacity- I like a run. Vitamins. Eye cream. Studio time regardless of productivity. Tea and a warm shower at night. Books. Reading before bed to leave the brain with content.

Sans Kristin Dickson Okuda Claire Cottrell 10
Sans Kristin Dickson Okuda Claire Cottrell 20
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