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  • Weaving the summer breeze 05.20.2022

    As the summer wind embraces its coolness as it blows through the delicately woven threads. Once you step in, together with the comfort one is embraced in, the daily tenderness conveyed by the vague outlines makes the heart feel at ease.

    The mosquito net is said to have been introduced in the Nara period from the Tang dynasty. At the time, created from cotton or silk, with colors unbleached. After in the Muromachi period, to let heat be released easily hemp was used, dyed light-green adding a cool and refreshing appearance.

    A tool created to spend the summers comfortably, over time with improvements in functionality, the emotional beauty of the net became familiar daily items.

    Starting with the dreamlike scenery Maiko Kurogouchi saw from the inside of the mosquito net, the fabric woven at a traditional mosquito net factory in Nara, is dyed into the traditional light green and light purple of flowers found early spring in Nagano. The eloquent dresses and tops made from the fabric hold both the strength required for embracing the body and intricate transparency unique to the mosquito net by the hands of the craftsman. As if seeing the world from the inside of the net, the garments permeates the skin beautifully, while bringing comfort as if one is gently embraced.

    Photography: Daisuke Nakashima / Words & Edit: kontakt /Translation: Shimon Miyamoto

  • To see the mountain 05.13.2022

    As snow melts, on the face of the mountain appears the image of ‘Shirokaki Uma’ or plow horse, an old man sowing seeds, a Buddhist priest in a stole, or a butterfly spreading its wings.

    Nagano is surrounded by complex landforms, here and there snow remains on the mountain surface. The mix of snow and face of rocks appearing creates ‘Yukigata’, shapes of lingering snow on a mountainside, which locals have enjoyed comparing these shapes to human figures or animals.

    Predecessors have used the appearance of shapes on mountains as a calendar, signalling the start of harvest and sowing fields. The ‘Yukigata’ has long been a seasonal feature in people’s lives, over the years becoming names of mountains, such as the image of a plow horse becoming Hakuba or a butterfly spreading its wings called Chogatake.

    Each in their own way, one ponders at the ‘Yukigata’ awaiting for the new season to come. When its shape is clearly visible, the long winter comes to an end, and spring is coming. Similar to the mountain surface, the knitwear created holds various faces. In its charm, what scenery does one see?

    Photography: Daisuke Nakashima / Words & Edit: kontakt / Translation: Shimon Miyamoto

  • Visiting Takayuki Kijima, Hat Designer 05.02.2022

    Photography and Movie : Yuichiro Noda / Words & Edit: kontak

  • Dawn of innovation 04.26.2022

    Arimatsu of Aichi Prefecture, renowned as the origin of tie-dye from 400 years ago. During the Edo period the area flourished, those traveling along the Tokaido road purchasing tie-dyed hand towels and yukata as souvenirs.

    The use of various tools such as needles, threads, and boards gives room to devise the strength, shade or the dye, painting various patterns. Combining simple tools and unique skills brings about the ‘Arimatsu Shibori’, with over 100 patterns.

    Early morning, thick fog spreads in front and in the distance, flowers create a pale scenery. To express the transient gradation, a thin wooden stick 2cm in diameter was used. Reinterpreting itajime, a technique used last season, this time instead of tightly tying the fabric, fabrics were gently sandwiched between the sticks. Pouring different colors of spring, created layers of fuzz.

    ‘Arimatsu Shibori’ is originally known for dyeing its patterns clearly. However, this time the unique skilled technique was applied to express the fuzzy beauty captured in nature’s scenery.

    As the Arimatsu Shibori craftsman says, ‘Design that makes use of techniques, technique that makes use of design.

    A design that purposely allows the dye to run, and new tools and techniques developed to make it happen. Only with the detailed knowledge of tradition and techniques, can this modern communication be created, a gradation pattern that symbolizes this collection.

    Photography & Movie: Yuichiro Noda / Words & Edit: kontakt /Translation: Shimon Miyamoto

  • Touch of Spring – Spring Summer 2022 04.18.2022

    Early spring, Nagano. The morning dew laid across the land, and in the distance faintly sensing life coloured in light pink to wisteria. Flowers, one after another, begin sprouting awaiting for snow to melt, and at this sight, one ponders, slowly but surely reminiscing the memory of spring.

    Trying to capture the outline, they disappear in a fluff. The vague spring scene melts slowly together with my memory, creating ‘My Spring’.

    The childhood memory spent in Nagano. The 10th anniversary of the establishment of the brand, facing nature and history gives the collection a new look. As the past and present gradually cross paths, ‘My Spring’ transforms into threads and fabric.

    The touch of spring air Maiko Kurogouchi felt in her hometown, signals the beginning of her journey ‘Land’ to her roots in search of spring palletes and textures.

    Photography: /Yuichiro Noda / Words & Edit: kontakt /Translation: Shimon Miyamoto