About Henry: Miyoshi Behind The Madness
Once you hear Henry Miyoshi's story, it becomes clear very quickly how and why he turned out to be the complex, dynamic artist that he is today.
Born in Bangkok, Thailand to a Thai mother who was part Indian, and a Japanese American father who was serving in the US Air Force, Henry's ethnicity spans a wide cross section of many Asian cultures.
Henry shares that he's always been the "creative and perceptive type", even as a little kid, interested in how things function and their aesthetic qualities. "My mom would get so mad and yell at me for bringing Rhino beetles into the house", he laughs, "I was fascinated by all of the intricate and colorful detail on such a small creature, how they moved, the world they lived in."
"Those beetles and lots of other big, cool insects were everywhere in Thailand, so I used to think of them as pets." Henry continues, "I'd put little stickers on each of them so I could recognize specific beetles as ‘mine’ when I saw them again."
When Henry was seven, he left his childhood in Thailand behind, and the family moved literally and figuratively a world away from Bangkok, to Honolulu.
Hawaii's climate and life on the Air Force base may have been comparable to what he'd known until then, but the similarities basically ended there.
Adjusting to American culture was definitely difficult at times, but Henry managed to adapt after a while. His father's military career kept them on the move pretty regularly, and sometimes it seemed like a constant blur of people, places, and things.
One respite from the chaos was spending time with his grandmother, Jean, who was the head of catering for Japan Air Lines. Her position allowed her to take Henry on special trips and show him the world. Together, they visited many places including Tokyo, Auckland, and London.
After Hawaii the family continued to move for his Dad's job: to California, then Oklahoma, Texas next, and finally back to California. Although Henry had a group of friends, moving so often made it a challenge to form lasting bonds.
In his early teens, Henry got a job at the officers' club on base -- where he washed thousands of dishes, did kitchen prep, restocked the immense pantry, and learned how to cook under pressure.
Through all these experiences, Henry gained a firsthand understanding of adaptability, self-reliance, independence, hard work, and a sense of the world around him. As a result, Miyoshi had maturity uncommon for his age.
But he was also a typically rebellious teenager, albeit a fairly well-behaved one. Miyoshi began to tune into the music of various punk bands like Social Distortion, Minor Threat and L7 as an outlet and a source of escape. New wave and punk music was also one of the ways Henry found common ground with other kids, listening to cassettes and going to live shows.
At about 16, Henry began dying his hair blue and styling it into a mohawk, wearing ripped cutoffs and Doc Martens. His emerging punk rock persona made it a lot easier to find a core group of likeminded classmates.
Along with his immersion into the punk culture came his appreciation of the DIY ethic, which would later contribute to the beginnings Korrupt Label. Miyoshi recalls, "I made myself a custom jacket with tons of patches, studs, pins & buttons and painted sleeves. It was my 'uniform' -- it represented who I was at the time."
In 1990, at the age of 18, Miyoshi struck out on his own, leaving the suburbs of the Bay Area for the City of Angels.
Little did Henry know what an entirely new and different world would unfold for him in Los Angeles.
Henry quickly discovered his tribe in the underground punk & rock music scenes of LA. He began to direct his creative ability towards designing show posters, and also worked in retail to make ends meet. Henry was having a blast, but after a while he wanted something more stable than what the Los Angeles party scene had to offer.
Miyoshi decided to move back up to San Francisco in 2000. It was during this time that he found a creative outlet styling mannequins and dressing window for and number of department stores -- including Saks, Gucci and Gump's, an institution in the city. It was a decent, stable living for Henry, at a time when stores had the budget for lush windowscapes.
Working in visual merchandising for 8 years piqued his interest in fashion, and Henry had been casually learning how to silkscreen and sew on the side. Miyoshi experimented with these new skills by making one-of-a-kind punk rock jackets for himself. His friends began to ask if Henry could make custom pieces for them, and encouraged him to start his own business.
While Henry was unsure about leaving the security of his job, he had also grown beyond his role, and was anxious for something new. In 2008, Henry took the leap and decided to open his own small business: Korrupt Label.
The company's start was simple, with only one product: punk rock patches, sold renegade style out of a suitcase, wherever he could set up and make some money before the police chased him away.
Over the next 10 years, Miyoshi grew the company beyond just patches, and it steadily evolved from those humble origins into a full line of men's and women's clothing, accessories and custom design. Henry reflects, "I had no idea it [Korrupt Label] would turn into what it is today. It's been a lot of work, but my passion for the business is also what drives me."
What does Henry see for the future of Korrupt Label?
"I'd love to help found an urban art collective -- a place where artists can support each other, and find their creative voice", he muses. With a big grin, Miyoshi adds, "It would also be cool to see Korrupt Label expand more firmly onto the east coast, and to maybe even bring the brand back to Thailand."