Eri shares a birthday with Yoko Ono and says she feels a “cosmic connection” to her. They do bear an uncanny resemblance to one another in their looks, and also seem to share similar dispositions. Those born on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces, like Eri and Yoko, are supposed to be unusually concerned with protecting their personal space, but also with digging deeply within themselves in order to gain a better understanding of who they are as people. Looking for a greater awareness and singularity is what Eri is all about, and she feels that it was her multicultural, “moshpit” childhood that has helped define her uniqueness. Eri was born in Japan and raised in California. She remembers how in elementary school, she felt caught between her life as a typical American ten-year-old and her heritage as a first-generation, Japanese immigrant. For instance, she spoke neither English nor Japanese well. In addition, while deeply rooted in the structure and solemnity of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and calligraphy, Eri was also a self-described, “super hyper crazy kid.” She listened to TLC, sported cutting-edge Tokyo street fashion like her orange platform sandals and rainbow colored tops, and obsessed on the avant-garde tastes of her heroine, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. Today, the myriad cultural juxtapositions that Eri has been forced to make sense of have resulted in a highly individual and acute sensibility that is most pointed in her fashion illustrations and style. In our discussion, Eri said the following quote about Kawakubo, however it could just as easily be a statement about her self, “ is beautifully distinct in her clothing by being on trend but remaining timeless.” While wearing her mother’s two-piece skirt and blouse, a look that could be ordinary on any other person, Eri exudes sensuality and edge. She wears the ensemble with creepers and as she describes, her Japanese gangster-meets-punk-meets-American hillbilly hair-do. Rei Kawakubo once said of fashion, “for something to be beautiful, it doesn’t have to be pretty.” It takes a sharpened eye and depth of character like Eri’s to understand how to carry off the meaning in Kawakubo’s words in everyday life. However, look no further than Eri’s torn-up pleather jacket or the perfectly clashing combination of her Romantic, floral Junya Wantanabe jacket on top of her black Cobra Snake tee, and you’ll realize that Eri is someone who definitely gets it.
"[New York City] reveals more and more of who I am. I feel like I'm this hardboiled egg and the shell keeps cracking. It's such a process to get it cracked and it's hard because you want to be accepted into society." Eri Wakiyama