This article originally featured in the April 2021 issue of Connect.
by Go Fukushima (Tōkyō)
In this month’s spotlight on the many talented designers and makers in Japan’s fashion and beauty industries, we caught up with Go Fukushima, the Founder and CEO of PRMAL—an ethical fine jewelry brand with a mission to make jewelry a more planet and people friendly industry.
PRMAL has a distinctively delicate style that works to showcase their sustainably grown diamonds. That’s right, grown. Their diamonds are grown in a lab, using carbon chips as seeds, to avoid areas of conflict and unsafe working conditions that often come with naturally mined stones. In alignment with these ethical values, they also donate a percentage of their sales to forest conservation.
Intrigued, we spoke to Fukushima about ethicality, influences, and Buddhism. . .
What inspired the eco-friendly and ethical values of PRMAL?
I have been active in the jewelry industry for about 10 years. In Europe and the U.S., jewelry is integrated into daily life, but in Japan, it is still second to fashion.
My family business is diamond wholesaling, and I wanted to make jewelry more accessible and lower the threshold for diamonds. Not many people are involved in the diamond industry in Japan, and market competition causes less work, which can sometimes lead to decisions that are not rational for the consumer side. Since the business is still mainly based on middlemen margins, the end price is naturally high.
I thought I could solve the industry’s problems by choosing the direct to consumer system, which is gaining a lot of attention right now. So, I came together with my friend, who is an IT engineer, and we hit it off and launched the brand together!
Who are your biggest influences when it comes to jewelry design?
I don’t have any particular influences, though I am mainly inspired by architecture and interior design.
When I go abroad, my hobby is to parade around the city all day and take pictures, and I notice many things when I decide to take pictures. For example, if you look closely at cobblestones, manholes, walls, etc., you will notice that they are surprisingly well designed. I take pictures of these small things, get ideas from them, and incorporate them into small pieces of jewelry.
I would like to be a person who can support the beauty and intention of a person by thinking first of all how to make the jewelry more gorgeous and beautiful when worn.
Does Japanese design influence PRMAL’s concepts?
In Japan, Buddhism is deeply rooted, and I feel that Zen values, in particular, are widely spread. This has a great influence on the concept of “Premium Minimalism,” which is the origin of our brand name, PRMAL.
One of the most distinctive aspects of Zen is its emphasis on the value of “Lose”.
Let’s say you describe Gain’s value as “acquiring things you don’t have, which leads to wealth”, Lose’s value is to “become wealthy by letting go of things you don’t need”. Our jewelry design is also influenced by Lose’s value.
We try to use simple materials to enhance the beauty of the jewelry from the inside out, rather than trying to express richness by using too many diamonds or precious metals.
Go Fukushima is the Founder and CEO of PRMAL inc. After graduating from the Faculty of Economics at Keio University, he joined a consulting firm in Tokyo, focusing on the development of cost strategies for a number of foreign luxury brands. Since leaving, he launched a jewelry brand with more than 10 stores, including overseas. In 2016, he opened a jewelry boutique in Ginza, Tokyo. He is also active as a photographer and videographer, shooting music videos and weddings.