Le Lien

Katanosaka Naoka

This time we speak to our friend Katanosaka Naoka from Le Lien, a select clothing store in Kagoshima City. “Lien” is a French word meaning “connection” or “bond”, and Naoka created a friendly community around her select store with this in mind. Naoka is also involved in community work, and with her husband works to improve the lives of disadvantaged children living in Kagoshima.

Kagoshima children playing

Active Childhood & Interest in Fashion

Naoka grew up in the Kansai region and enjoyed playing outdoors, but held an interest in clothes. She says, ‘I was an active kid and used to play tag and climb trees with kids in my neighbourhood. I liked clothes from a young age though, so I was always interested in fashion.’

She continues, ‘I moved to Kagoshima when I was in the second year of high school because of my father’s job. Just when I was just starting my career there weren’t many jobs around. I really wanted to go to back to Kansai where I was born and brought up, it was a very difficult time for me.’

‘In my second year at junior college I started working for a clothing brand called Agnes B in Kagoshima City. I started Lien in August 2013. The name means “connection” or “bond” in French. The name was chosen in the hope that this is a place where people can make relationships and connections and also maintain the relations they alreaady have with other people.’

Fashion Kagoshima

Fashion Concept at Le Lien

Naoka likes to think of her individual customers when choosing clothes for her store. She explains, ‘What is important for us when selecting clothes is to remember the face of each of our customers and keep them in mind when we choose our products at exhibitions. Our concept is to select clothes that fit the style of each customer that they can use for many months and years to come.’

‘We also have products that can be used from morning to night. For example, products you use in the morning and washing your face. It could be a face wash, cosmetics, or something you use regularly. We also have things like high quality towels and organic teas.’

‘When we started our shop in August 2013, the hardest thing was finding brands that were not available anywhere else in Kagoshima. A lot of it happened by chance. Sometimes a friend of a friend knew someone at the brand, sometimes another acquaintance was making products of their own. That’s how we got to know people and started our original clothing line.’

Orphanage birthday

Volunteer Work

Naoka has also been volunteering at a local orphanage for several years. When asked how she first became involved she says, ‘One of our customers told us she was volunteering at a children’s home. It was about 4 years after we opened the shop. I was really interested in the work she was doing. Then I met my husband and he was involved in the same kind of work, volunteering with children in orphanages. So I just naturally started to get involved with volunteering myself. We celebrate children’s birthdays,hold Christmas parties, and other events we can celebrate together.’

‘From next year, we will be taking over the volunteer organization from the current organizers. Together with our friends were going to think of lots of different ways to make the children happy. I think it’s going to be fun to come up with lots of ideas together.’

‘The name Lien was intended to mean a place where like minded people could connect and come together. I just naturally got into the volunteer work I was interested in and I’ve been able to connect with a lot of people through working with children. I really hope to make this my life’s work from now on.’


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