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Until now and from now on

I started making hats when I was 28 years old.

Shortly before that, I was fired from the company I worked diligently for.

I always worked so hard, but I was just another employee. The company dismissed me without my will.

I felt empty.

I started thinking “I would like to work on something that my talents could be recognized.”



I asked myself, “What can I do? What do I want to do?” Then, my eyes met with a hat block that I had bought at a hat making class I had taken when I was 23 or 24 years old and was still in the closet.

I thought I could start making hats again, and begun attending lessons hosted by a well-known Japanese designer Ms. Yumiko Itoyama.


Yumiko Kuroiwa


By the time I was 33 years old, I returned to Nagano and I was getting tired of working as a part-timer. And luckily, I had an opportunity to sell my hats at a challenge shop that gives business opportunities for creators. That was how I started selling my own hats.



After that, I also joined the challenge shop located in Matsumto city, Nagano, Japan. Then I met a person working at a flower shop there, and we started our own business.

However, it didn’t go well because I lacked not only technique but also business experience. And it made me desire to learn more.

Later, I returned to  Tokyo again to improve my skills. Also, I made the decision to go to study in London.

I jumped into London with no English skills, no friends, and no place to stay. (“Jumped into” would be a better word than “went to” in my case.)

However, it was not so easy out there. For the first three months, my situation was so rough that I could only make myself think positively. (I realized that my thoughts became positive every time when my circumstances were extremely negative.)


At that time, everyone at the school was younger and talented potential designers. Even though I felt I had no talent whatsoever, I didn’t think about dropping out.

I couldn’t stop the desire of expressing something fun by creating my original headwear.


After returning to Japan, I continued to hold small solo exhibitions.

At the same time, some buyers asked me if they could sell my hats.

Even so, I was still having a hard time selling my original hats that were not strong enough to enter the hat market at that time.

In 2015, I happened to find a small place in Shinkoji, Nagano city, Nagano, Japan and opened my own studio, but again, my struggles have not finished yet.


Even now, I still make trial and error, I meet new people and get new opportunities to sell my hats, thanks to their support.

Furthermore, I think my hats finally reached the level where they can bring out the best in everyone who wear them.





I hope that many people could see my hats and I could show them joy, fascination, and the fun of hats.

By all means, please do try “Yumiko Kuroiwa hats” which may attract you when you find them somewhere.

I wish that my hats will lead you to “Bring Out the Shining Self.”











Started selling hats with the participation in the challenge shop.

Study abroad at London Kensington & Chelsea College.

Learn more full-scale technology.


Opened Hat Studio and store Atelier Nerica.

Produced the first "Mountain Day" ceremony hat = Mountain Day hat =.

It has been passed down all over the country.

Received a publication request from Hatalk, a web magazine specializing in hats in the United Kingdom

Introduced as a Japanese Milliner.

This is the graduate show of London Kengingto & Chelsea college.

​The theme is Jelly fish that planed by Yumiko Kuroiwa herself.


Internship history

  • Karen Henriksen millinery 

  • Yasmin Rizvi millinery 

  • Misa Harada millinery

Mountain Day Ceremony Hat, "Mountain Day Hat"

​Recent major exhibition sales

  • Nagano Tokyu Department Store

  • Osaka Hankyu Umeda Main Store

  • Tokyo Nihonbashi Antique Shop

  • Liberty House

  • Kobe Modernark Gallery bee

Many others.


​The design for  the 55th anniversary of Nagano Tokyu Department Store.

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