Keiko is shop owner of Notch @notch_la, a lover of vintage, artist, and one of the hardest working ladies we know.
A regular vendor at Los Angeles vintage shows, you can find her this December 3rd at Pickwick, and December 10th & 11th at A Current Affair. She carries an insane collection of vintage clothing, accessories and home goods. Gifted with an exceptional eye, her choices are deliberate, cohesive and thematic. Her collections are gorgeous, carefully crafted and curated, and nothing is by mistake.
We were lucky to spend the day with Keiko, and we had so much fun we had sore cheeks from laughing. Generous with her time and knowledge, she is super chill and has a great sense of humor. Our dog Stella is just as obsessed with her as we are.
Keiko brought some favorite pieces from her personal wardrobe. Her professional and personal style is silhouette based and structure driven, and she is partial to unique textiles and patterns. I am obsessed with her clothes, and want everything she brought to live in my closet.
Hat by Yves Saint Laurent. Linen collar by Vivetta. Sweater by Issey Miyake.
We wrapped up our photo shoot and enjoyed some conversation, sake, and attemped to find her rough green snake, Opal, from a picture on her phone.
Here is a close-up of her, and you can scroll to the end of the post to look for Opal in her home.
We swooned over her favorite designers, Pierre Cardin, Issey Miyake, Jean Varnon and Malcolm Starr, and she opened our eyes to Richard Torry and other fantastic UK designers. She has her ear to the ground when it comes to local artists, and shared a few of her favorites...
The daughter of a tailor, cut, design and structure are in Keiko's DNA. She knows the body and all the possibilities of showcasing fabric in different and unexpected ways. She is also blessed with an innate understanding of what the designer was trying to achieve.
One of our favorite stories of the night was how Keiko and her father altered her boxy, oversized Japanese school girl uniform and she got into trouble. She is a bit of a rebel and we love her for it.
Being a business owner can be tough and we're impressed that for fifteen years, she ran a vintage clothing store with her sister in Japan. Their focus was a boho, hippy, American look, and at one point, three generations of her family had stores right next to each other in Japan. Keiko moved to California in 1993 to continue working on her craft, and we are so glad she did.
Custom hand-spun wool and horsehair shawl.
Carefully cultivated personal relationships are the cornerstone of her business. She has been buying and selling vintage clothing for thirty years, has seen thousands of pieces come and go, and has learned something from each one.
She naturally gravitates toward high-end brands because of the attention to detail and quality, and has fun finding unusual and unique pieces of art when she is buying; it’s all about the marriage of construction, cut, look and feel of fabric and special touches.
Black wool coat by Lutz Huelle. Black wool pants by Yohji Yamamoto.
What do you love most about your work? Meeting new customers! I love people, and when I see the smile on their face when they find the right piece, that is everything. I also love that every item has a story; it’s a beautiful way of connecting people.
What inspires you when buying? Each piece is like a work of art and the clothing literally speaks to me. I spend time with each piece, give everything very careful consideration and rely on my instinct.
Why is it important to you to support others in our industry? It is essential to keep building a strong community and to support small business. The vintage community became an even tighter family during the pandemic. You will feel that when you come to one of the vintage shows.
What is your favorite era of clothing? I really like the late 80’s! I like the structure, the baggy pants, and it’s fun to play with the silhouettes. Trends were not so serious, and the designers really had fun.
Favorite decade to time travel to? The 1960’s for sure. I am drawn to the mod and space age look, LOVE Pierre Cardin, and the Mondrian color pop. The music, style, and entire vibe feels familiar.
Please check out Keiko's Instagram shop @notch_la and if you’re in the Los Angeles area, please buy tickets to the vintage clothing shows at Pickwick and A Current Affair. There, you will find Keiko and many other amazing vendors. Don’t blame us if you get hooked.
Keep your eye on this gifted artist, Keiko’s daughter, Avalon. We’re obsessed.
Red shoes by Comme des Garcons.
Photo by Keiko.
Can you find Opal?