Anne Yuri Namba was born in Hawaii, but spent much of her youth in Bangkok, Thailand and Tehran, Iran. After finishing her studies at the University of Hawaii, Anne graduated Cum Laude from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. During the next five years Anne honed her design and technical skills working in New York’s garment industry. Her last year in New York was spent working in the costume department at Radio City Music Hall.
In 1985 Anne returned to her native Hawaii and spent a year working for Malahini Hawaii, one of the state’s largest garment manufacturers. After leaving Malahini, and while working out of her parents’ home, Anne started designing her own line of one-of-a-kind garments made from vintage Japanese kimonos and obis. Finally, in 1989, Anne opened her Honolulu boutique in the beautiful Manoa Valley and Anne Namba Designs was born.
In the years since, Anne has taken her “Kimono Couture” to new heights, including adding to her kimono and obi designs by creating exclusive silk print collections using Asian themes. Her collections have appeared in Bergdorf-Goodman in New York, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s West, the Saks Fifth Avenue Folio Catalog, Nordstrom, Liberty House and I. Magnin stores. She has shown her designs in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and many mainland U. S. cities.
In 2009 Anne created 120 costumes for the Savonlinna, Finland Opera Festival’s production of Madama Butterfly. The Savonlinna Opera Festival is the largest opera festival in Northern Europe and draws 70,000 guests each year. In 2010 Anne did costumes for Madama Butterfly with the Malmo Opera’s 2010 production in Malmo, Sweden.
In May 2010 Anne produced a benefit fashion show for the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. The show ended with Baryshnikov and his wife Lisa dancing down the runway, while wearing items from Anne’s collections.
Anne’s clientele includes Elizabeth Taylor, Mariska Hargitay, Hillary Clinton, Joan Mondale, Ann Getty, Veronica Hamel, Sharon Stone, Tamlyn Tomita, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, actors George Takei, Jim Nabors and Pat Morita, musician Herb Alpert and Mrs. Sadaharu Oh, wife of Japan’s most famous baseball player.
Anne’s designs have been worn by Phylicia Rashad during a Today Show appearance, Aretha Franklin during a Good Morning America performance, by Vanna White for a week of Wheel of Fortune, by former Hawaii First Lady Lynne Waihee while hosting a dinner for the Emperor and Empress of Japan and by members of the band Hiroshima. Anne has been featured on Lifetime Television and in A. Magazine: Inside Asian America in a pictorial entitled, “Ten Women to Watch.” Anne Namba is a 2007 recipient of the Roselani Medallion of Excellence from The National Society of Arts and Letters. Anne Namba Designs was selected by Ernst & Young as Hawaii’s 2000 Retail Entrepreneur of the Year.