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Radiating Joy Through Fashion: An Inspiring Interview with Yukiko Toyoshima, Founder of Pick Happy

Join us for a glimpse into the world of fashion that celebrates passion and heritage.

In the world of fashion, where trends often overshadow timeless elegance, there emerges a beacon of inspiration. Meet Yukiko Toyoshima, the visionary founder of Pick Happy, a clothing brand that transcends mere style, offering a profound sense of joy, confidence, and well-being to those who wear her creations. Yukiko’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, heritage, and a relentless commitment to quality and sustainability in a fast-paced industry.

From her humble beginnings in Hokkaido, Japan, to her adventures in different corners of the world, Yukiko’s life has been a tapestry of diverse experiences and cultures. Her family’s legacy of dressmaking, coupled with her global exposure, has shaped her unique design philosophy—a blend of Japanese and European influences that marries classic traditions with contemporary originality. Through Pick Happy, Yukiko has found a way to capture the essence of happiness in every stitch, every fabric choice, and every design.

But Pick Happy is more than just a fashion brand; it’s a celebration of well-being. Yukiko believes that clothing can be a source of genuine happiness, not just for the wearer but for everyone around them. Her dresses are designed to radiate positive energy, to make you feel confident, comfortable, and, above all, joyful.

In this exclusive interview, Yukiko Toyoshima takes us on a journey through her life, her brand, and her vision for the future. Join us as we delve into the creative process behind Pick Happy, explore the eco-conscious practices that drive its sustainability, and discover the profound impact her designs have on the lives of those who wear them. Yukiko’s story is a testament to the magic that happens when passion meets heritage, and her words will undoubtedly inspire you to follow your dreams, just as she has with unwavering dedication. So, let’s dive into the world of Pick Happy and be inspired by the extraordinary woman behind it all, Yukiko Toyoshima.

Yukiko Toyoshima

Could you please share the pivotal moment when you decided to establish Pick Happy? What motivated you to create a clothing brand centred around joy and happiness?

Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of creating beautiful clothes for women and having my own clothing brand. I was born in Hokkaido, Japan, and raised in a family tradition of dressmaking and custom clothing design. I also had the privilege of working with one of Australia’s most famous designers before gaining valuable marketing experience with a Swiss watch brand. The dream of having my own brand continued to burn within me as I gained new experiences and explored different parts of the world.

My intuition told me that Pick Happy was my destiny. In 2021, it became clear that the time to launch was now. I sensed how Covid was impacting attitudes and mindsets, draining energy and joy. I set my intention to be helpful by doing what I love most – designing beautiful dresses that make women feel happier and more confident, regardless of the situation. The right clothing can truly transform us!

Your dresses are designed with a focus on high-quality natural fibers and comfort. Could you elaborate on how your upbringing in the family tradition of custom dressmaking influenced your commitment to both aesthetics and functionality?

My mother and grandmother were both expert dressmakers who passed down their traditions to many others. Growing up in a household of skilled dressmakers, it’s probably no surprise that my sister and I enjoyed custom-made clothing crafted by our mother’s hands. She made our clothing exclusively for our comfort and always used natural fibers. As a young woman, I had yet to discover why our clothing was so special. I simply knew that our clothes felt good on my skin and smelled nice when dried under the sun.

Over the years, as I tried dresses made from different materials, I discovered that nothing compares to the beauty and comfort of natural fibers. With natural fibers, I can design pieces that offer versatility beyond being suitable for a single occasion. A great example is Pick Happy’s signature style, the “Angel Jumpsuit.” It exudes elegance and style, making it perfect for dining, socializing, or shopping, yet it is so comfortable that you can even practice yoga in it. Yes, it’s that comfortable!

Pick Happy customers appreciate that our clothing offers both the comfort and function for active lifestyles without compromising on style and elegance. We want you to both look great and feel great!

Your journey has taken you from Hokkaido, Japan, to southern Florida. How have these diverse cultural experiences shaped your design philosophy and approach to creating clothing that resonates with people from various backgrounds?

From my childhood in Hokkaido, Japan, my perspective has been enriched by extensive time living and travelling in other parts of the world (Europe, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, and the United States). For the past eight years, beautiful and picturesque southern Florida has been my home.

Despite having lived in many different environments, I still found it challenging to find clothes that brought me special joy. I sought dresses that were high-quality, elegant, yet affordable with a touch of casual feeling. The kind of dress that, when you put it on, makes you immediately feel comfortable, confident, and happy. I couldn’t find it, but I knew I could create it. So, with Pick Happy, I set out to design dresses that would create that experience for our customers.

Each of the environments I’ve lived in has enriched my perspective and has shaped Pick Happy. I look for beauty everywhere and try to bring it into my designs. Pick Happy’s designs are a reflection not simply of Japanese or European influences, but of the harmony between these rich traditions. Pick Happy style is a unique mix of these cultural influences, offering originality with classic foundations. Customers often comment that Pick Happy style feels new yet somehow invitingly familiar.

“Happy” is a central theme in your brand’s philosophy. Can you tell us about a specific instance when you witnessed one of your customers experience a genuine moment of happiness while wearing a Pick Happy dress?

A customer recently posted about her purchase, saying, “It fits like a dream! I love Pick Happy!” I want every woman to feel this way. Hearing how a Pick Happy dress makes a woman feel is especially rewarding.

I love interacting directly with customers at pop-ups and trunk shows. There’s nothing that compares to experiencing a customer’s joy when trying on a dress for the first time. There have been so many special instances when a customer tries on a garment, feels the fabric on her skin, sees herself in the mirror, and then seeks me out to give me a big joyful smile. There’s no better feeling than knowing Pick Happy is playing a part in her happiness.

In a world of fast fashion, Pick Happy emphasises durability and easy care. How do you balance the desire for lasting quality with the demand for trendy and versatile designs?

Pick Happy is a sustainable and ethical brand that offers durable collections with a commitment to high quality. Our collections are designed for comfort and versatility. Although Pick Happy is stylish and fashionable, we do not chase trends. Fast fashion brands are not our competitors. We serve customers who appreciate quality, authenticity, and timeless elegance.

Your lifestyle promotes well-being, which is reflected in your designs. How do you envision your dresses contributing to not only the physical comfort of wearers but also their emotional well-being and confidence?

Happiness comes from within. It all starts with choosing to be happy and then doing the little things that support your intention. Wearing a beautiful, comfortable dress lifts up your heart and gives you confidence.

The right clothing changes not only us but the world around us. When you wear beautiful, comfortable clothing, happy energy emanates from within you and radiates to others. Friends and strangers smile and compliment you. These unexpected, everyday interactions give you confidence and increase everyone’s happiness. Pick Happy dresses create these warm moments all the time!

The process of designing and creating clothing can be intricate. Could you walk us through your creative process, from the initial spark of an idea to the final product being available for customers?

The production process varies depending on what I am making and whether I am working on a new design, new style, or new fabric. Sometimes my creative process begins with hand sketches to help shape my vision. Alternatively, I may move directly to drawing patterns if the vision is already formed, and then I start draping on a mannequin. To bring the vision to life, I make a sample by hand and adjust it until it looks and feels great!

All other finishing details come after the silhouette is perfected. Once I complete a finished sample, I send it to my production partners. The completed items are returned to me for a final quality check before shipping out from my studio. I want to ensure that each item is special and fulfils our brand promise of helping women feel beautiful, confident, carefree, and Happy.

Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect of fashion. How does Pick Happy integrate eco-conscious practices into its production and design methods?

Pick Happy is mindful of what we do today and is committed to having a positive impact. We consciously seek out processes and methods that protect our environment. Two examples illustrate our commitment. For our fabrics, we have chosen a dye process that minimizes water usage and avoids the use of harmful chemicals. For packaging, we use reusable, natural materials and avoid the use of plastic bags. Each of our customers receives their items protected in natural, cotton dust bags with the affirmation “I am Happy.”

The prints on your dresses are handmade and inspired by your surroundings. Could you share a particular instance or place that sparked the idea for a memorable print in your collection?

Inspiration comes from everywhere, even in my dreams. One of our most popular prints is “Evil Eye in Moroccan Blue.” I was inspired to draw the eye design from the images in my dreams during a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. The colour blue was inspired by an art piece that I saw at an exhibition much later. The process of seeing an original drawing come to life in a beautiful fabric is especially exciting. I am so fortunate to have partners specialised in each process that support me as we experiment in turning inspirations into beautiful, finished pieces.

Pick Happy’s designs are described as “timeless, yet easy to care for.” How do you ensure that your dresses remain relevant and appealing across different fashion trends and seasons?

Pick Happy is influenced by the rich tradition of Japanese and European classic styles. I do not follow fashion trends when creating my collections. This is why each piece feels unique and timeless. Customers comment that Pick Happy style feels new yet somehow invitingly familiar.

Our collection is centred on resort wear that is suited for everyday living or excursions in warm climates (vacations, travel, cruise ships, etc.). There is always a demand in these environments for beautiful sundresses, jumpsuits, and kimonos. People are excited about these occasions and Pick Happy offers clothing to make them feel even happier and more confident.

Your personal journey from a family tradition of dressmaking to founding Pick Happy is quite inspiring. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business based on their passions and heritage?

I am nowhere near qualified to give business advice to anyone (laughs).

From my experience, I would suggest: eating well, exercising, and getting good sleep. It’s important to live healthily to have the energy and enthusiasm to create something special. In addition to exercise, I dedicate 20 minutes daily specifically to “mind training” to help me stay centred and develop resilience. In the early stages, physical health and mental toughness are critical.

Also, start telling people around you about your passions and dreams. Bring them to life by sharing them with others. Things start coming together from every direction when you spread your passion. Pay attention to those signs and appreciate them. You will see more signs, and your momentum and confidence will build. Trust the process. If you have a mentor, that is an extra bonus.

Finally, I often remind myself to think about why I want Pick Happy to be successful. My purpose in life is to be happy and to be helpful to others. When I see how Pick Happy dresses make people feel happier, it gives me great satisfaction.

Looking ahead, what do you envision as the next exciting chapter for Pick Happy? Are there any new directions, innovations, or goals you’d like to share with your customers and fans?

My focus is to reach more women and offer them the feeling they get from having the right clothing that lifts their spirits. We recently partnered with the global platform Wolf & Badger to support worldwide orders. I am excited about sharing Pick Happy with more customers and helping them feel beautiful, confident, carefree, and Happy.

Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?

My next destination will be a return to a magical place I last visited when I was a teenager. I love to explore new places; however, I am looking forward to revisiting the magnificent lavender field in Hokkaido, Japan. Being there, surrounded by acres of blooming lavender, is like being in a dream.

Where can people find out more about you and follow you?

Please visit us at pickhappy.shop, and you can find us on Instagram @pick_happy. For orders outside the U.S., please visit Wolf & Badger.