Featured Arts and Crafts Vendor: sumofish

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Editor’s Note: From handcrafted jewelry, fabric hand bags made with Asian inspired prints to Asian influenced apparel and creative home decorations, AsianWeek will be featuring Asian-inspired Arts and Crafts vendors each Tuesday to kick off the summer festival season.

The featured vendors all have previously participated in the Asian Heritage Street Celebration (AHSC) – the largest pan Asian street fair nationwide that takes place the third Saturday of every May in San Francisco.

Produced by the AsianWeek Foundation, the AHSC is committed to supporting and promoting these creative and hardworking craftsmen vendors who may otherwise not get the online attention and exposure they deserve.


sumofish’s  mission statement from Day 1 has been simple – create shirts that owner Brandt Fuse himself would wear.  The San Francisco based t-shirt brand first started  in August 2002 under the name bigsumo, which offered a line of tshirts featuring a mainly sumo theme.  In 2004,  Fuse had a design named “sumofish”,  which was an angry, fat blowfish wearing a sumo belt.  This popular character eventually became one of his best sellers, so he decided to rename the company sumofish, as a fun, graphic line of Japanese and Japanese American inspired designs.

Fuse  draws inspiration from his Japanese-American upbringing and his love for Japanese food and culture. The bold lines and bright colors in his designs come from an admiration for the bold strokes of both sumi-e brush painting, and modern street graffiti.  Furthermore, inspirations for his designs often come from everyday occurrences; one winter he was eating ramen a lot due to being cold and broke.  He realized that packaged ramen, despite being Japanese in origin, is one of the most universal foods, even more than hamburgers, and just about anyone can relate to it.  He was then inspired to create a robot made of ramen noodles, with the flavor packet as body armor, and wielding a sword made out of chopsticks.  To this day it is still one of his best sellers, and personally his favorite design.


For more information about sumofish, please visit: http://www.big-sumo.com/. Additionally,  sumofish also appears at festivals in the spring and summer months, and craft fairs in the fall/winter months.  His festival reach is from Hawaii (his hometown) to St Louis, MO ( his college town), with many cities in between.

About the Author

Tiffany Louie is an Asian American born in San Francisco, obsessed with SF Giants baseball, Hello Kitty, good food, politics, and dogs (not necessarily in that order).