For Akio Sato, whose electronic components company and home were decimated in the massive Tohoku tsunami seven years ago, starting a fashion business that would one day receive an Imperial endorsement was all but impossible to imagine.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami destroyed swaths of Japan's northeastern coast on March 11, 2011, dealing a devastating blow to the lives of many including Sato and his Minamisanriku-based business, which produced cables and other parts used in electronic devices.

Sato, 67, resumed operations at his company less than a month after the calamity by renting an office in a neighboring city. At the time he was living in a crowded evacuation center in the tsunami-hit town where electricity had not yet been restored and gas was in short supply.