Our Story

Moments of happiness can be found everywhere

Inspiration from Japanese Kimono Philosophy

From hemp leaves to fish scales, kimono artisan saw beauty in everyday life then distilled them into iconic patterns.

Old Japanese Kimono philosophy distilled into joyful contemporary patterns

The idea for Mamimu came to June’s mind a while ago in London. Spending time in a foreign land, it was nostalgia and a longing for home which propelled her to create something that touched her roots and also brought her joy.

During her research, the graphic designer tapped into her Japanese heritage, and more specifically the work of 18th century traditional kimono craftsmen. She was impressed by the work of these artist, who found inspiration in day-to-day life, such as the natural beauty of fish scales, flora and tortoise shells, and later distilled and developed them into iconic patterns.

June's childhood in Tokyo was filled with quirky patterns

Beauty can be discovered in ordinary places

“I am an ardent believer that inspiration and moments of happiness is found everywhere, and that beauty can be discovered in the most ordinary of places. Growing up in Tokyo in the late 70s was a time full of groovy patterns. So I saw textures everywhere – my rice bowl, TV commercials and even my mother’s blouse. So patterns continually and profoundly influence the way I see the world,” June says.

She channeled this optimistic view of the world, one which is full of ideas, into Mamimu’s first tote bag collection. Observing her natural surroundings, she studied different elements of design in cities, such as signage and pedestrian crossings, before being drawn to the textures of manhole covers.

She examined their varying textures and motifs, before developing and incorporating them into a design-conscious and contemporary product that is tailored for the global nomads of postmodern society. This creative process has resulted in a capsule collection of quirky bags that are also representative of the cities they are named after.

Mamimu June Mineyama-Smithson


MAMIMU was founded by award-winning Japanese graphic designer June Mineyama-Smithson. Born and bred in Tokyo, she relocated to London to study graphic design and went on to work for some of the world’s leading branding agencies. It was during this time that the idea for MAMIMU came to June’s mind. 

Believing in the optimistic idea that inspiration can be found everywhere, even in the most ordinary of places, she continues to create witty and contemporary designs inspired by the urban mundane landscape. 

She advocates this idea and a regularly speaker. In the past she talked at: UAL, Net-a-Porter, TalkRadio, ustwo, Pecha Kucha Night, SCAD Hong Kong and SheSays. As an artist, June exhibited at Cow Festival Niseko, Japan (picture), the largest public art event in the world.

The name MAMIMU comes from the sound of Japanese alphabet. It represents regular elements (M/M/M) and irregular elements (A/I/U) in graphic patterns.