Misa Hasegawa (JPN), pattern maker, Tokyo

“I moved to Tokyo about 10 years ago, but Melbourne is my next destination later on this year. I travelled to many places, LA, San Francisco, NY, London, California, but I never felt so much at ease, at home like when traveling to Melbourne. It really feels like I have to be there, like there’s a higher reason. I hope I can continue my job as a pattern maker there as well, but I’ll first do an intense brush up of my English for a few months.

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At first I thought I wanted to become a fashion designer, as the clothes I wanted to buy were too expensive. Better make them myself, I thought! While in fashion school, I realized I liked patterning the most, so I completely went for that.

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My left arm is completely covered with tools I need for my job: scissors, bob, needle, zipper, measure, sewing kit, iron, torso. It all refers to my life, as I know I will be making clothes for a living. At first I wanted to leave my right arm open, but some designs didn’t relate to my job, so they wouldn’t fit on the left one. That’s how this side also started. I’d love to cover my legs as well, that might follow after moving to Melbourne.

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I sometimes cover them up while I’m on the train. The train is moving of course, but inside everything stands still. There’s no place to hide and I don’t like people staring at me. I don’t like the prejudices, people see me and say I’m a though girl, a strong drinker… My family is a bit of a problem too. They are quite strict on all things cigarettes, alcohol, tattoos… My mom knows it, but she will never look at it or talk about it.

A while ago I travelled to the States again. Normally at the immigration, they ask things like ‘Why did you come to America?’. The person interrogating me said ‘I really love your tattoos, tell me a bit more about it’. I guess that was a bit of a culture shock, haha!


Recently I don’t see that many differences anymore between Tokyo and other big cities in the world. Back in the days it would always take a lot of time for popular things from f.e. NY or London to reach Japan. Nowadays that time-lapse seem to have disappeared. The only difference is the number of Japanese people here!” (laughs)

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