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Date Posted:

by: Aria Spence

Maiko Suzuki (left) and me

xukuma -
183 lenox avenue @ 119th Street

xukuma is a groovy store. it has a collection of unique items from all over the world.as soon as i walked in, i thought of eating skittles! mmm. feast your eyes on the rainbow. such vibrant color and pretty products. this store is purely diva. well, @ least in my opinion...deeee-gorgeeeeoussss...beeeeutiful. what more can i say. pure ingenuity. maiko designs , phat, x-cessories: which range from xukuma t-shirts to bedroom cushions, gifts, candies, home decor, and x-stationery. i especially love the miss soul, ms soul2, afrobabe, and x-girl1 shirts.

+ maiko suzuki +
profession: manager, designer and artist @ xukuma
age: 26
sign: sagitarius

aria: what does xukuma [zoo`koo`ma] mean?
maiko: "life is the way you want it to be."

georgia, the owner of xukuma created the name.

a: where are you from?
m: "tokyo, japan"

a: who is your favorite music artist?
m: "unmm.. that's hard... i like any kind of music."

a: what is your favorite food?
m: "japanese, thai, vietnamese..."

a: when did you start designing clothes?
m: "since I worked here."

a: where do you get your products?
m: "we buy from different [manufacturing] companies."

a: what inspired you to work at xukuma?
maiko tells me her parents are also graphic designers: "i grew up in the art field, so i always knew that's what i wanted to do."

a: do you design anything else?
m: "i do website logos." she is also working in a window display around the corner.

a: why did you choose to work here, in harlem?
m: "i moved here nine years ago, after i graduated [private] high school in tokyo. i went to parsons school of design [2001]. i moved to harlem because i couldn't afford to move to [the] east side."

a: how would you describe your style?
m: "contemporary, urban..." maiko informs me that she doesn't focus on a particular age group or style: "i like to create. i'm interested in any kind of art field."

wow! my interview with maiko was great! she had such an effervescent attitude, which made all go well. before leaving, though, i just couldn't resist buying her happy x-shirt. sooo cuuute!!! bright yellow and orange, two of my favorite colors ;D. i absolutely love neon colors. [they make me feel as vibrant as they are.] i have to come back now. i feel like buying the entire collection. if you haven't already been to xukuma, hurry up and buy some x-cessories from xukuma! and if you have, well make plans for another visit.

- Aria Spence, HarlemLIVE Journalist
July 2004

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