Growing up in Tokyo and New York, Hanako Maeda ’10CC was captivated by the vibrant fashion scenes of her two home cities. As a Columbia College student majoring in art history and anthropology, she interned at Vogue and completed a summer design intensive in Paris. “I learned that fashion is more than just pretty clothes,” she says. “Every brand has a unique story, and it’s the stories that inspire people.”
Today, Maeda is the founder and creative director of Adeam (her last name spelled backward), a luxury brand with an East-meets-West aesthetic. Adeam’s unique silhouettes and edgy functional wear have been seen on celebrities from tennis player Naomi Osaka to first lady Jill Biden to comedian Jenny Slate ’04CC. Maeda’s tastes are eclectic, surprising, and inclusive. The runway looks for her spring/summer 2024 collection draw inspiration from ballet, but for fall/winter 2023 she was inspired by pop-punk and the manga series Nana.
Adeam, which has focused primarily on women’s fashion since launching in 2012, introduced a gender-neutral line in 2021 called Ichi, the Japanese word for “one.” “Japanese youths have more freedom when it comes to dressing and styling themselves,” explains Maeda. “If you go to Harajuku [Tokyo’s fashion district], you see people mixing women’s wear, menswear, and everything in between. I wanted to capture that spirit.”
This article appears in the Winter 2023-24 print edition of Columbia Magazine with the title "Global by Design."