Born to Japanese opera singers who moved to Italy for love, creative consultant Sara Wake divides her time between Milan and Tokyo. With a life spent between two continents and two dynamic cities, in 2013 she decided to create wakapedia.it, which started out as a showcase for the unique people she’s met along the way. It quickly turned into an international creative window to a unique world. Founded with her friend Giulia Bison as a platform for interviews in four languages, the site brings to the fore pioneers across the art, culinary, film and fashion worlds.

The Dressing Screen meets up with Sara at Ronin. Opened less than a year ago, the shrine to modern Japanese culinary culture has quickly become one of the most popular spots in Milan. Together with our style Ambassador Helen Nonini, Sara shows off some of her favourite looks.

Sara, what made you chose Ronin as the place for this meeting? 

This place is special, almost utopian — it’s like out of a film. It’s very decorative but also futuristic at the same time. I encourage you to visit, at least for an aperitivo. They are really good. It’s elegant but at the same time, it exudes a sort of “manga” aesthetic.

Sara Waka da Ronin con The Dressing Screen

SARA: Nasco Unico –Dragons yellow jacquard double-breasted silk blazer
HELEN: Dragons blue jacquard double-breasted silk blazer

What  are some of your favourite culinary hotspots in Milan?

My favorite is Tomoyoshi Endo. I basically grew up there. Not only do they have home style meals, but they also have real tapas from Sol Levante.  IYO Aalto is nestled among the skyscrapers of Gae Aulenti and I love how Michelin-starred chef Takeshi Iwai experiments with dishes like tsukemen and spaghetti dishes like cacao e pepe – a perfect, unexpected mix between Japan and Italy.

 

What are your favourite spots in Japan?

Clandestino 41! It’s a bar run by Italians and I got there almost every day to feel at home. There is also this place, which is sort of a Japanese Ikea. It’s called Nitori and its a concept store based on functionality.  I love the MOA museum, which is outside of the city but houses a wonderful, niche collection of Japanese art. I find some quiet zen time at the Meiji Jingu temple, which has a bamboo park and it is the only place where I can find a great sense of peace.

How important is art to you… not just in your professional life?

I was born into the art world. My parents, opera singers, moved to Italy for work. Milan is my city. I grew up in Porta Venezia! My first memories? When my mom took me to her singing auditions… an interest for that arena has always stayed with me. After university, I earned a degree in communications and Art, Valorisation and Market. I also completed my Masters in Cultural Mediation at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Sara Waka da Ronin insieme a The Dressing Screen

SARA:
Loretta Caponi – Maria smock shirt in denim
Pantaloni – Flora denim pants

What can be done to incorporate inclusivity and sustainability in fashion?

Both are important in any sector. I am passionate about food: as you known the Michelin Green Star  [an annual award which highlights restaurants at the forefront of the industry] honours restaurants that are most vigilant [in terms of sustainable practices. I also dove into another reality – SBP – SUSTAINABLE BRAND PLATFORM (sustainablebrandplatform.com) founded by my friend — it’s an initiative that measures just how much designers and their products really are sustainable.

What do you like about working with the The Dressing Screen, and why is it important to help small brands? 

Where I am today, had a lot to do with apprenticeship. I did everything by myself… like getting to know many designers, artists… from well-known names such as Cattelan, to the lesser known ones. With emerging artists, we have always helped each other: highly talented characters with whom one needs to interact with in the right langauge.  The Dressing Screen fits in with this vision: a beautiful showcase that will help many names find their place in the market.

Sara Waka e The Dressing Screen da Ronin i

Nasco Unico: Double-breasted blazer in red wool crêpe

What is your favourite item ? 

The flame red blazer by Nasco Unico. It has a high chromatic impact! An impeccable, elegant and rigorous silhouette that’s also very feminine: its craftsmanship is evident with the first wear… it seemed made just for Ronin. I wanted to interpret it with a leather rope from an emerging designer that I love very much, SIRAINER — it is the perfect edgy finishing touch.

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