Illustrator and Designer Julie Pinzur Is Putting Nostalgia Back in Style

For Founder Julie Pinzur, Mokuyobi Encapsulates All Things Bright, Fun and Colorful

Written By: Reed Ryley Grable
Photography Provided By: Thomas Henry Green, Gabriel Mendoza Weiss, Julie Pinzur, Annabelle Sadler Julie Pinzur Mokuyobi

Rising behind a cartoonish mock-up of Mount Fuji are bright lines reminiscent of the sun’s rays. It evokes a sense of curiosity and wonder, provoking an eagerness in its viewer to pursue and explore. This is the logo for Julie Pinzur’s Mokuyobi, a clothing company hidden in South Pasadena which aims to put the fun in functionality.

The niche company produces bright, colorful garments with illustrative designs on an array of items, ranging from watermelon-inspired fanny packs to funky-colored backpacks, noodle doodle shirts and crown-shaped hats. As the company grew from being a project in  then-19-year-old Pinzur’s home to a full-fledged brand sold in retailers as big as Urban Outfitters, Pinzur has pushed herself with each creative design. “Each thing I make, I think, ‘That was cool…but this next thing…’” Pinzur says as the company’s style and direction evolved. “I’m always trying to up myself.” Julie Pinzur Mokuyobi

Mokuyobi came from humble beginnings; Pinzur’s interests in sewing stemmed from when she was young, and as she grew up, she would constantly have ideas she wanted to apply but hadn’t the artistic skill to pursue them. She enrolled in the Parson’s School of Design in New York and earned a degree in illustration, so she then had the ability to create what she envisioned. Such work from her time in school included her senior project, a robot dress—a bright blue dress with switches, knobs and buttons. Now, Pinzur has all she needs to bring her whimsical creations to life; all of the work she produces is done by hand, starting with the print designs and then the textiles.

With her company, Pinzur wanted to bring forth the world she had in her head and apply it to those around her. “The whole idea is this: I felt like this stuff didn’t exist—like the stuff I like didn’t exist. Like cute, and not too cutesy…cool, but not, like, bad… It’s very rad and awesome. I wanted to expand that world I didn’t see at all.” 

A major inspiration came after she spent time studying abroad in Japan, which provoked her to apply bright colors, futuristic designs and even 1980s and ‘90s cartoons to her work—as Pinzur puts it, a “culmination of all her interests.”

In fact, “Mokuyobi” is Japanese for the word “Thursday,” which Pinzur says is the absolute best day of the week. Why Thursday? Because with Thursday, there is still an anticipation and excitement for the upcoming weekend that hasn’t yet been tapped into. “So, it’s about the anticipation—that feeling of being excited, and that’s what I’m trying to chase. When you see Mokuyobi, I just want for you to be excited.” In other words: Pinzur wants her buyers to look at her clothing and think, “Yes, this is where I want to be!”

Julie Pinzur

99 Pasadena Ave, Ste 10B
South Pasadena, CA 91030 Julie Pinzur Mokuyobi

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