Designer Yuko Matsuzaki was born at the end of the 50s, in May, in Asakusa, in Tokyo’s historic center, between Senso-ji temple and Nakamise-dori, a street famous for its tiny shops and traditional objects. A place dear to the soul that will influence her whole life and work.

When Yuko was born, the passion for arts and crafts had already been part of her family for generations: her great-grandfather, who was part of the old Shogun’s court, was a very creative person with a love for beauty. A passion he shared with his son, Yuko’s grandfather, and later on with his grandson, the designer’s father, who both grew up loving art and novelties. They were considered great inventors for their time. Yuko’s father in particular loved painting and used to design and build toys for kids.

The designer therefore grew up in an extremely creative environment. And, like the rest of her family before her, she loved painting: at first it was houses, people, forests and animals. Then, as she grew older, her pen started drawing her first shoes.

She attended Tokyo University of the Arts, where she refined the art of creating the layout and design of products, and deepened her technical and humanistic knowledge. At the end of her studies, she immediately entered the professional world and started her career designing shoes for the development of a big Japanese brand.

That was just the beginning for Yuko. She then continued her professional journey in the fashion industry, working as a freelance designer for important international fashion brands, for which she designed shoes. This gave her the chance to visit the main European and American cities, particularly Milan, London, Paris and New York.

Her connection to Italy dates back to the 90s, when the designer began selecting Italian shoes for the Japanese market, participating in the large fashion fairs for interviews and consulting about shoes and the best materials to create high quality products with. The landscapes, art and culture of Tuscany, which was at the time the shoemaking capital of the world, fascinated her. But it was Milan that ended up winning her heart, and she soon moved there.

Starting from the 2000s, Yuko worked with several Italian shoemakers on the OEM production (Original Equipment Manufacturing, i.e. when a company creates a product with its own trademark). However, she made the real qualitative leap when she decided to have her own collections produced in Italian artisanal factories, choosing them personally, testing them and starting collaborations. The Japanese designer is able to follow the whole manufacturing process, from the designing to production stage, thanks to her long experience.

The dream to create her own line, combining her signature essential design and Italian artisanal tradition, came true in 2020, with the creation of luxury shoe brand Seishou, founded by Yuko together with designer Masaharu Ikeda. Today, alongside designing, Yuko works as an editor for the magazine Jalfic (Japanese Leather Fashion Information Centre), directed by her colleague Ikeda.

Nowadays, she spends most of her time developing her brand Seishou: Yuko designs the collections and is directly involved in the production of the shoes in the workshop alongside the artisans with whom she developed a very close collaboration, which allows them to give their best in the making of a high-quality product.