Traditional Fabrics of Japan
Diverse textile folk arts preserved as Kimono cloth
It used to be a common human practice, dedicating substantial effort to make a cloth — It was a handcraft totally relied on natural materials.
The materials of threads and dyes were, for instance, hemp, bast-fibers, cotton, silk, or animal fibers, and the whole process, spinning, dyeing and weaving, was done by hand.
The development of science and technology, spinning machine, power loom, chemical dyes and synthetic fiber, has eliminated the handcraft traditions across the globe.
Miraculously, in Japan, a rich diversity of handcraft textile traditions has survived across the Archipelago.
It is thanks to traditional "kimono" garment culture continuing even today's Japanese society.
Now there are 38 woven textiles are designated as 'traditional crafts of Japan', and two of them are listed on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritages.
Moreover, nearly a hundred of local textile traditions and craft artisans create and maintain unique and finest textile folk arts.
Traditional textiles at risk of dying out,
finding a new way out for foreign market
Due to the lifestyle change, or the spread of cheaper mass-production fabrics, the authentic fabrics made of traditional methods are rapidly disappearing. Responding to the critical situation, the government and local bodies carried out the legal protection for recognize those weavings as ‘traditional crafts’ and provide various supports for them including subsidies.
The various attempts have been made by working closely between manufactures and distributors to change the situation, but it is now even difficult to maintain the status-quo. Some of them manage to endure, but many weaving regions have already disappeared.
Shamefully, these marvelous textiles have almost no opportunities to be known for foreigners and traded only for the limited Japan’s kimono market so far.
Therefore, we would like to, by transmitting internationally the attractiveness and accurate information of traditional craft textiles of Japan, seek for creating a new market overseas and aim to deliver new flow that reinvigorates the local manufactures and weaving regions who are now facing predicament.
Textiles we would like to introduce
Kimonos well-known globally are formal kimonos tailored of piece-dyed fabrics, such as flowery frisode (long-sleeved Kimono). On the other hand, informal kimonos worn for everyday use and tailored of yarn-dyed textiles, receive less attention. While formal kimonos are originated from the culture of the novelty and upper class, informal or everyday kimonos, including tsumugi, had been closely connected with Japanese majorities’ everyday lives, which should be symbolized as the representative fabrics of Japan rather than those of formal kimonos.
Textiles we specialize in and would like to introduce are the highest quality traditional craft yarn- dyed weavings, which are valuable clothes, but have been made for kimonos for informal or everyday use.
The land of Japan is long from north to south - from the heavy snowfall areas to the sundrenched tropical islands -, and various sophisticated indigenous textiles were born and nurtured in such diverse climates. Some of these most elaborately crafted textiles take more than a year to complete a bolt of textile(about 12m×0.4m) by the seasoned craftspeople. These textiles have the supreme texture of which words and numeric value cannot express.
Japanese people adore tailoring such valuable fabrics for kimonos and wearing these as everyday dress in the right effect, because Japanese cherish the spirit and culture of “iki”.
We believe that these textiles will also fascinate foreign people who love fabrics.
Although most of the textiles are used for kimonos, as these are originally a piece of fabric, various applications would be possible regardless of kimonos: Tailoring for European style clothes, processing for accessories, or interior furnishings.... There would be endless possibilities!Examples of utilizing the textiles
Humanity invented weaving since prehistoric times, and utilized for various purposes including clothing. The traditions of weaving and dying based on natural privileges, are seen in various regions across the world. Nevertheless, because of lifestyle changes and advances in sciences in the past century, clothing culture has standardized rapidly. If we lose each of traditional and ethnic clothing, the wisdoms and techniques of making them will also disappear.
Such knowledge that are handed over from person to person, are all tactic knowledge, which are almost impossible to restore once disappeared.
By creating a hub for connecting weaving regions and local manufactures with people who love fabrics all over the world, we aim to leave our traditions to the future.