My Story

Welcome to my online shop, Styled in Japan.  I hope you find a parasol you love, or something that captures your imagination in my folk craft, vintage and antique collection (available through my Etsy shop).

I was born and raised in the small country town of Loxton, South Australia.  My father was a fruit blocker and my mother a dressmaker.   After graduating from high school I attended teachers college and university in Adelaide.  From early childhood I wanted to see the world, and after teaching for three years I embarked on the first of many overseas adventures.  I have now spent most of my adult life living away from Australia.  For the past 20 years I have been working in Japan as an English language teacher.  How lucky am I!  During the long semester breaks of university I am able to indulge my passion of international travel; and on weekends during term time you will find me scouring temple and shrine sales for vintage and antique Japanese treasures.

I am now at an age when many people are dreaming of retirement (or have taken the plunge), but I have immersed myself in learning how to run a small business, seeing it as a welcome challenge and chance to experience a world outside the institution of education.

Why parasols?  On the eve of my departure to work in Japan, I was diagnosed with skin cancer, the unfortunate result of many hours spent in the sun as a child and teenager without the benefit of sunscreen.  After arriving in Japan I noticed that women of all ages (and an increasing number of men) used parasols to protect themselves from the sun, and so I also started carrying a parasol whenever I went out on a sunny day. I became fascinated with their beautiful designs yet practicality. Whenever I returned to Australia or travelled to other parts of the world on holiday, I would pack a parasol in my suitcase.  Friends and family members became curious and would sometimes ask me for one.  Occasionally strangers would stop me on the street to compliment me on my beautiful ‘umbrella’ and ask where I had bought it.  It was this that inspired me to start a small business dedicated to providing quality and stylish parasols for people who want to avoid the health risks caused by excessive exposure to the sun; to keep cool but look good; to maintain youthful skin; and to have a fashionable alternative to a hat (who doesn’t hate hat hair?).

To complement my parasol range I offer a range of vintage and antique gift items, clothing and home decor.  The collection is continually changing and evolving, and I invite you to accompany me on my journey of discovery as I share with you the treasures I find at shrine sales and temple markets: folk craft, indigo dyed textiles, silks, traditional clothing, handbags, fans, furoshiki wrapping cloths, dolls, religious artifacts, wooden kashigata sweets moulds, the quirky and artistic treasures that catch my eye.

I love hearing from my customers so please feel free to send me your comments, questions or photos.  You can email me, sign up for a monthly newsletter, follow my blog , or join the Styled in Japan community through Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest .

Denise Fenwick