Well, Super Yaki may be the place for you. Their apparel designs celebrate beloved movies and stars, no matter how niche (and it gets pretty niche).
Andrew Ortiz, a Houston native, started Super Yaki in 2016. At the time, he sold just one product — an enamel pin with the grinning face of Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli. Ortiz wanted to make the pin because he felt the director wasn’t receiving the recognition he deserved in the United States. Miyazaki fans found the pin online and the business took off from there.
The shop now carries a wide range of apparel, stickers, pins, mugs and blankets. Each of these items hones in on a different film or creator that you wouldn’t typically find merchandise for. But at Super Yaki, it doesn’t matter whether or not something was critically acclaimed or how well it performed at the box office. It’s about the joy films can bring us, no matter how quirky, unconventional or bad they may be in the eyes of others.
“If your enjoyment of a piece of pop culture is rooted in an earnest and loving place, who’s to tell you that you should feel guilty or wrong about it?” said Ortiz to Houstonia Magazine, perfectly summarizing the shop’s philosophy.
Super Yaki sells apparel for films such as “Jennifer’s Body,” “Paddington,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” “The Mummy” and many more. They carry adorable patches that proclaim “It’s Okay To Like Bad Movies” and stickers that revel in the fun of visiting the cinema solo. The shop also has music-related apparel, expressing love for the “Spider-Man 2” soundtrack and John Carpenter’s score for “Halloween.” There are even aprons in remembrance of the time Florence Pugh made marmalade and documented the entire saga on her Instagram story.
By leaning into niches, Super Yaki has grown to encompass a wide consumer base. Fans of any film genre can explore the shop and find something they like. The specifics of each design are fun and stand out among more standard movie merchandise. Every shirt and sticker is turned into a conversation starter, as fellow fans passing by might also pick up on the reference.
Just like with the Miyazaki pin that started it all, Super Yaki has continued to advocate for the more underrated figures in the film industry, such as directors Cathy Yan and Karyn Kusama. More recently, the shop’s Fraser February drop earlier this year was wildly popular, as fans of Brendan Fraser were excited to showcase their support for his return to Hollywood.
The shop has caught the attention of many of the artists that they have spotlighted. Jamie Lee Curtis wore their “It’s a Rian Johnson Whodunnit, Duh” shirt on her Instagram to support her director and fellow actors in “Knives Out” at the Golden Globes. Kelly Marie Tran has also taken notice of the shirts designed in her honor and acknowledged them in an interview. Her boyfriend even donned a “Be Nicer to Kelly Marie Tran, You Jags” tee alongside her at an event. Last month, Super Yaki received a mention on “The Tonight Show,” as a shirt from their Michael Shannon collection was gifted to the actor himself.
Super Yaki’s continual dedication to uplifting actors, directors and creators instead of dragging them down is refreshing, especially when considering how much negativity an actress like Tran has faced.
Ortiz knew that the internet could be a toxic place. He wanted Super Yaki to become a space where film lovers could come together and uplift films, actors and directors rather than punch down. “It has to come from an organic and very respectful place. The last thing I want to do is give anything that feels disingenuous,” Ortiz told Elle. “Sometimes Film Twitter can be a little bit of a mess, and I want us to embody a more communal and welcoming feeling.”
This communal feeling is certainly felt on Super Yaki’s social media, where they constantly post their reactions to breaking news about movies and to people wearing their merchandise. They ask followers for suggestions for future releases, genuinely interested in which films are sparking their interests. Fans have their own rapport in the replies, sharing their own opinions and making connections. It’s one of the rare instances online where the comment section is quite wholesome!
Last week, I reached out to Super Yaki via Twitter and asked what their community means to them.
“The Super Yaki community is genuinely the happiest accident we could have possibly hoped for. To be able to celebrate all the movies and actors we love in earnest, AND be able to do that alongside what is probably the most friendly and inclusive group of folks online? It’s a dream come true,” said Brittani Tuttle, the Director of Social Media Strategy for Super Yaki. “The Super Yaki community is a constant reminder that there are truly good, kind people online, and it’s been an honor to be a part of that.”
Not only does Super Yaki celebrate films and their creators at their shop, they also celebrate the love that fans have for movies, cultivating a space in which there is no shortage of niche references, pop-culture knowledge and kindness. It doesn’t matter what you’re a fan of, you’re bound to find something you love at Super Yaki, whether it’s the sense of community or a cool new T-shirt that expresses your undying love for Judy Greer.