On The Road

Inside a Designer’s Whirlwind Trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo

Nomia’s Yara Flinn takes us along for the ride.

By: Emily Ramshaw

For some, travel means lying on a beach with your out-of-office reply firmly switched to “On.” And we feel that. For others, like Yara Flinn, for example, the effortlessly cool designer behind cult New York label Nomia, a trip is a chance for an adventure in a place entirely different than home (and maybe mix a bit of business with pleasure). No, a week spent in Hong Kong and Tokyo isn’t exactly a relaxing getaway, but that’s beside the point. For Flinn it was a chance to explore—the markets and hills in Hong Kong, and the vintage shops (hello, vintage Comme des Garçons) and cat cafés (yes, you read that right) of Tokyo.

Click through the slideshow to see beautiful views of Hong Kong and what might be the best cat selfie on the internet.


“The Hong Kong metro is incredibly convenient and easy to use! It’s probably the most modern train system I have been on. It’s a great way to get around the island, or to go to meetings with the knitwear design team in Kowloon.”

“The façade of the Sai Ying Pun Community complex exhibits Hong Kong’s British colonial past. I was unaware of this at the time, but apparently this was formerly the only mental hospital in Hong Kong from 1947 until the 1970s. There were reportedly sightings of ghosts in the 1970s, when it was abandoned. It has now been restored as a façade in front of a modern building, and is one of the only examples of Victorian architecture in Hong Kong.”

“I love all the narrow side streets in Hong Kong. This is a particularly elevated view, a nice workout for your legs!”

“We hiked up to The Peak (Victoria Peak) and though the walk was pretty steep, it was definitely worth it. I love how the foliage frames the dense urban development.”

“Hong Kong’s climate is so tropical and lush. It almost feels like Rio de Janeiro. I love all the palms trees everywhere.”

“Getting ready for a night on the town in Chan Wai! Hong Kong has some of the best cocktail bars and dance clubs.”

“On one of our last night’s in Hong Kong my colleague and I decided to do something very touristy and take a Dragon Boat evening tour. I am so glad we did it. The city lights reflecting off the harbor complimented by the perfect soundtrack and a glass of wine was the perfect way to end our amazing time in Hong Kong. I can’t wait to go back!”

“There are so many small street markets to explore in Hong Kong; you have to bring your strongest bargaining game! The Ladies Market in Mong Kok is probably the most popular street market, and definitely worth checking out.”

“On my first day in Tokyo I went to visit some of the stores we sell to in Japan. This was Stunning Lure. They have several stores around Japan, but this was their flagship location in Aoyama (the high end shopping district).”

“Selfie for scale. I am a giant in Japan.”

“Saying goodbye to the lovely staff at Stunning Lure!”

“I couldn’t imagine visiting Tokyo without stopping by their famous Cat Cafés. Somehow I dropped by Café MoCHA at morning feeding time, and had the whole place to myself!”

“Visiting Astraet, another store that carries Nomia. The modern, marble interior houses such lines as Cedric Charlier, Paula Mendoza, and Martiniano alongside their own beautiful brand.”

“In Aoyama I stopped by a store called Sou Sou that specializes in modern interpretations of traditional Japanese clothing, such as the Tabis! I have been a big fan of the split toe shoe since Nike’s Air Rift and Margiela’s Tabi boot references.”

“Ragtag is a must for vintage shopping in Tokyo. I bought an open back white blazer from Comme des Garçons. They have a great mix of high end and casual brands. Prepare to spend a few hours sorting through!”

“Shibuya crossing has been immortalized in many films and photos, but nothing can compare to the experiences of walking through hundreds of people. Even though there are throngs of people, everyone patiently waits for the traffic lights (I never saw any jaywalking my whole trip in Tokyo!) and are careful not to bump into others—not exactly the same as Times Square!”

“Commemorative sake barrels at Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu).”

“The most delicious Japanese fries, one of the few things I could eat (as a vegetarian) at the famous Uoshin Nogizaka fresh fish restaurant. I also had some amazing fried bean curd and cabbage salad washed down with an ice cold Asahi and local sake!”

“Fantastic architecture near the National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) in Chiyoda.”

“My favorite piece in the MOMAT, a sculpture by Kishia Suga from 2004.”

“Rice paddies on my Narita Express ride back to the airport, was such a beautiful ride through the countryside. I cannot wait to come back and explore other areas of Japan!”

Part of the series:

On The Road