May 07, 2024
UPRISERS Suehiro Upcycling Fashion meets Food Collaboration


Kenji Suzuki sits at the counter of Suehiro Cafe. Cafe has permanently closed and Suehiro now continues in the historic core of DTLA at 400 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA . Photo Courtesy of Alex Hugh Jackson.

As we navigated the eviction process I began reading those messages from our customers. How personal they were! That’s when I realized it wasn’t just us losing a store, there have always been these memories at Suehiro, a space where people would spend so much time and create these memories. Keeping Suehiro existing was not just about paying the bills but it was protecting those memories that were living in that space. I feel this sense of responsibility to the community to protect those good memories because our memories are what make us who we are. 

- Kenji Suzuki, Second generation owner of Suehiro Cafe. Current owner and operator of Suehiro Mini and Suehiro DTLA. 


Suehiro Cafe is a Japanese comfort food restaurant. Every family in the Los Angeles Japanese American (JA) community has a memory there. Today Suehiro is not just for the JA community, so many families across generations, cultures and communities have their own Suehiro stories.

Photo Courtesy of Alex Hugh Jackson

“I will have customers come in and they’ll share how they came in with their parents and now they bring their own children. That’s three generations, it’s not just serving food. It’s their childhood memories and the good things that happened to them, that was all in Cafe.” Kenji Suzki, second generation owner of Suehiro. 


As Little Tokyo continues to be threatened by a rapidly developing downtown LA and legacy businesses like Suehiro are forced to leave for their own survival what is OUR role in sustaining our community. 

On Wednesday, May 8th UPRISERS is releasing a priceless collaboration to share and uplift the Suehiro legacy. This project is part of the ongoing UPRS 2.0 efforts to contribute to sustainability efforts in the fashion industry. 

We also encourage the community to continue supporting Suehiro at their new location in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles at 400 S Main Street between 4th and 5th Street. 



The UPRISERS x Suehiro collaboration is an exploration of cultural preservation and sustainability as we continue to reimagine the fashion industry. More than just extending the life cycle of our goods and reducing waste, the UPRS 2.0 upcycling pieces created from the Suehiro Cafe noren (traditional Japanese entranceway curtain) and Suehiro branded aprons have taken recovered historical artifacts and transformed them into wearable history.

“There’s an important message here about sustainability, and I am honored to have our Suehiro ‘trash’ become treasures. Those materials are part of memories that are brought into a 3D form, a manifestation of that treasured memory that people can touch and be reminded of their joy.” Kenji Suzuki, second generation owner of Suehiro. 

We invite everyone to be a part of our efforts to sustain our community’s culture and preserve its history. CLICK THIS LINK and share your feedback on how we can best honor on how to best honor these One-Of-A-Kind artworks of cultural history. 

The Ltd Edition UPRISERS x Suehiro collection is truly a first of its kind — as we went along this 4 month journey it became clearer and clearer how these archival pieces of art were becoming a statement about the significance of our community spaces. Because of the rich history they represent, our own love for Suehiro and the labor of love we poured into producing these 1 of 1 pieces, we have come to the decision that our history, these cultural artifacts are NOT for sale (for now). Why? We are seeking our community’s feedback on how we can best honor these pieces and want YOUR input first before deciding where these pieces will find its next home. 

Go to the collection gallery to LEARN MORE about these PRICELESS pieces as we gather our community feedback. 

“I can see that the younger generations are taking sustainability to another level. All these things that we thought we’d just throw away, the noren, the booths, the lunchboard and now they’re being turned into beautiful pieces of art. Art we have in our archive at Suehiro and art that can be worn as fashion.” Kenji Suzuki, second generation owner of Suehiro. 

As we embark on this new chapter of UPRISERS that blends cultural history and loved materials, your support and insights are important to us. 

The future of our community is NOW. 

Appreciate our efforts? If you’d like to support us along this journey, we have released Ltd Edition UPRISERS x Suehiro ‘Strangers Became Family’ T-Shirts available for pre-order in Black and Bone T-Shirts.


UPRISERS founder Michelle K. Hanabusa works with the UPRISERS team across their downtown LA studios to transform Suehiro’s history into art.



In 2021 UPRISERS, with the support and collaborative efforts with REWILDER - a 100% upcycling company based in Los Angeles - we launched our inaugural TEE 2.0 (renamed UPRS 2.0 in 2024), a sustainable design process that repurposes discarded materials into one-of-a-kind fashion pieces.

Until the Suehiro collaboration collection every UPRS 2.0 is pieced together entirely out of unwanted tees. This is UPRISERS first effort to work with traditional materials and cultural pieces from community spaces. 

UPRISERS x SUEHIRO COLLABORATION is part of the ongoing journey we began in 2021 to explore a delicate balance of community, sustainability and culture across our product designs and campaigns.

The noren used in these fashion pieces were once traditional Japanese curtains that hung in the entrance way of Suehiro Cafe on historic First Street in downtown Los Angeles.


THE UPRISERS x SUEHIRO collection transforms tragedy into an exercise in treasuring memories. This ambitious upcycling project takes noren, traditional Japanese style curtains, that hung in the iconic Suehiro booths and also lined the entrance way into one-of-a-kind fashion pieces that are wearable pieces of community and cultural history. The collection also includes one-of-a-kind totes upcycled from Suehiro aprons used by staff in the 90s through early 2000s and limited edition t-shirts (not upcycled) with an archival photo of co-founder Junko Suzuki at the original 2nd Street location. Learn more about this priceless collection via this link.


Suehiro is a late night diner serving authentic Japanese comfort food. A 53 year resident of historic Little Tokyo, the popular family owned restaurant has been introduced across generations and continues to be a unifying memory for community members.

Strangers became customers and customers became “regulars”, friends brought other friends, parents brought in their children and soon the restaurant became a common go-to-place for people in Little Tokyo.

Suehiro Cafe was displaced from 2nd Street in the late 80s and moved to its iconic 1st Street home where it resided for over three decades. Junko’s son Kenji has been running the family business with his wife Tomoko since Junko’s retirement in 2001. With half a century of community history in its booths, Suehiro is one of Little Tokyo's oldest restaurants but unfortunately in January 2024 it suffered through its second displacement. Today 53-year-old Suehiro is located in historic Downtown Los Angeles and continues to be a family owned and operated small business.


UPRISERS® is a female founded community wear brand and story-driven platform dedicated to a sustainable future. The LA based streetwear brand reimagines the traditional life cycle of seasonal collection drops and its collections are inspired by and released in parallel with our community’s traditions and lived experiences to tell stories of the untold. UPRISERS continued efforts to build towards a more sustainable future is the development of UPRS 2.0 — our  upcycling model, to utilize existing materials to remake new designs into limited edition capsules that seamlessly blend cultures, designs, communities and materials.