Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Pearl Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Pearl Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ypearl-01-0010

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CN: Just to backtrack a little bit about your New York City, you were studying three years in fashion design, or what was your major?

PY: It was dressmaking and fashion artwork. Fashion art.

CN: What kind of, were you able to get a job, you said you were working in a cafeteria or something, were you able to do dressmaking work?

PY: Not over there, no. After I finished school then I came right back to Minneapolis.

CN: What kind of training was that? You had to learn how to make patterns and things like that...

PY: Yes, draft and drape and then advertising art and all the chemicals, art, just black and white, no color work or studies. But I did work in, as a side job in between at a fashion, she was a designer and she had little pamphlets that she would send out and so we worked in, there were about three of us girls and we worked on this catalog or whatever you want to call it for her.

CN: During the war, fashion wasn't probably a big area, but after the war...

PY: Yeah, well...

CN: Was it still?

PY: I think so.

CN: Houses and things in New York City that...

PY: Oh, yeah, their coat, the designer that I worked for, she did most of the coats, coat line. And so we just, she just printed out her designs and then we just added a little color to it. It's, during those years everything was, they didn't use photography very much. It was all artwork; all the designs were done in artwork, handwork.

CN: And you were an artist?

PY: Well, I try. [Laughs] I was working in Donaldson's for a while but then we decided to raise a family and so it was more difficult. And so I did some artwork for Strutwear catalog, all the lingerie and everything, I used to copy that and make a little sample catalog for them. And then after Strutwear closed then I started to do dressmaking at home, and then after our children all graduated and got married, well then my time was more free so I went out and worked at Schlampp's for a year and designed dresses, and then they closed after the fur objectors started. Yeah, they really made it difficult for Schlampp's for a year. And then I went over to Sonnie's.

CN: Is Sonnie's a dress shop?

PY: Yes, they have about four dress shops here in town. And then I retired, completely retired.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.