The Kōtuku (White Heron) occupies an important place in Maori myth and folklore. The creature is rare and revered with just over 100 birds in only one colony on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. The elusive bird is elegant in his elongated forms and poise - check your next $NZ2 coin.
Japanese identify their ancestry with family crests (mon). A rich and beautifully reduced visual language of these symbols has developed. It is thought mon first originated in fabric patterns, and their usage since has ranged from imprinting ceramic roof tiles to signal a family home, to being used more broadly on products such as tofu and sake to lend an air of elegance and tradition. Animals and plants are common mon inspiration - check your next ¥500 coin.
This traditional path to visual identity development is curious in that we try to approach most things a little differently. We found the heritage of this Japanese crest language somehow reassuring in flighty times as we seek to build lasting garments authentically. Also, with the Kōtuku mastering their precious life on the water so gracefully we had to try it on. It just seemed to fit.
Okewa's visual identity is the work of our fine designer Dianna of the In-Company Collective.
Photos from top: Prak Sritharan; Steve Attwood; NZSam; In-Company Collective.