japanese art, design and culture

Category — Fashion

Monomatopee | inflatable fashion inspired by origami

Hooray for inflatable fashion! I just fell in love with this new scarf from Monomatopee! From flat fabric you can inflate the ends into 3D volumes. I just tried it, and it completely feels as if you’re touching paper.

And inflating it allows you to infinity manipulate it like origami. Amazing!

 The scarves are 11,550 yen. If you need help ordering from abroad click here for assistance.



Their previous collection is also nice – a series of small pouches like coin and pen cases that you can fold and unfold:

September 5, 2012   Comments Off

The obsession of dots: Yoyoi Kusama x Louis Vuitton

For several weeks strange dotted waves rose from the ISETAN floor in Tokyo. For the ones familiar with it, there was no doubt; Yoyoi Kusuma had arrived.

This pop-up installation celebrates the collaboration between the iconic Japanese artist and French luxury brand Louis Vuitton. This fusion is obviously a success in Japan for two reasons. First, Japanese girls are fond of Louis Vuitton products. In Tokyo they are everywhere – even the beach! Second, there is a strong sense of pride amongst Japanese girls that Yoyoi hails from their home country. Furthermore, right now Kusama may very well be the most popular Japanese artist worldwide. For all these reasons, the collaboration is a major event in Japan and is echoing across various industries and geographies.

And you can follow the echo from shop to shop: after Isetan the “Comme des Garçons” vitrines in Ginza were contaminated by dots too.


(and as indicated above, the echo has spread worldwide where we find similar happenings in Paris, New-York, Singapore…)

Louis Vuitton solidifies their success by transcending beyond the physical product line and carries us into Kusuma’s world through digital tools:

A website:

And a smartphone app:

The website is quite amazing; very easy to navigate, with value-added content and images. For the app, it’s a bit of a different exercise and many brands have struggled to master it. Despite the good design, the content and purpose falls short, and ends up being quite deceptive.

However, once again, Marc Jacobs has demonstrated he knows how to renew a luxury brand, as evidenced by the craze he has stirred up in Japan!

August 22, 2012   2 Comments

Link Furoshiki – an in-depth interview and factory photo shoot

Today’s post is a bit different. We’re excited to be able to work with LINK in showcasing the debut of their new line of Furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth). And in addition, we’re also happy to share an exclusive interview and photos of the furoshiki printing process, which was done at Chiffonez, a printing company in Japan. Despite having a large portion of their operations in Kanagawa, their sewing factory is in Fukushima, where they sustained heavy damage due to the earthquake and tsunami. 10% of all furoshiki sales will be going towards recovery efforts in Tohoku.

I really love the modern twist that in-house designer Lucinda and UK-based designer Hannah Waldron applied to the age-old furoshiki.

The Interview

Kyoko, Link’s Tokyo director, and photographer Martin Holtkamp visited the furoshiki printing facility, along with Mr. Tanaka of Chiffonez. The facility is located near Chogo Station on the Odakyu-Enoshima line. The owner of the furoshiki printing facility, Mr. Fukuda, is carrying on a family tradition that has spanned over 50 years and two generations. Fukuda, who emits the faintest odor of salt, has enjoyed a long career. He started dyeing furoshiki all the way back when he was in kindergarten. (interview translated interview by Gengo)

all photos by Martin Holtkamp | click to enlarge

[

July 2, 2012   3 Comments

giraffe neckties

Giraffe ties is the latest brainchild of Toyama Masamichi, a Japanese entrepreneur and the man behind several niche yet successful ventures like Soup Stock Tokyo and Pass The Baton. Aspiring to become “the world’s cutest necktie brand,” giraffe assigns a certain look to a temperature – 34, 36, 38 and 40 degrees – with the lowest and highest temperatures being, well, “out there.” Their ties are available through online marketplace zozotown.

An added bonus: these pictures of a recent exhibition they held are giving me major tie envy.

images from their spring/summer 2012 collection | click to enlarge

February 17, 2012   Comments Off

Tamaki Niime’s Banshu-ori Shawls

image courtesy Tamaki Niime | click to enlarge

Would I like to wrap niime’s shawl around my neck? Why yes, yes I would. Tamaki Niime is a Hyogo-based artisan who hand-weaves the most delicate shawls in the banshu-ori tradition. Characterized by a technique known as saki-zome (pre-dying the thread before weaving) the tradition dates back to as far as 1792. Niime uses vintage looms to create one-of-a-kind shawls out of cotton and a mix of silk or wool, depending on the season.

Niime in her studio in Nishiwaki CIty, Hyogo

Earlier this year New York-based fashion writer Akiko Ichikawa stumbled upon the luscious shawls. Wanting to learn more, she made a trip to Niime’s studio in Nishiwaki City, a town that once prospered from its fabric industry, supplying to the likes of western fashion houses like Burberry and Brooks Brothers.

The meeting blossomed into a working relationship and resulted in Niime’s luscious shawls becoming available in the U.S. Current stockists include the New York-based online shop La Garconne.

images courtesy La Garconne | click to enlarge

December 8, 2011   1 Comment

Beautiful People Shop in Aoyama by Wonderwall

photos by Kozo Takayama | click to enlarge

Here’s a recent project by the talented interior design firm Wonderwall, headed up by Masamichi Katayama. After supplying their popular fashion line to select shops around Japan, Beautiful People, the budding line of apparel, finally decided to get their own brick-and-mortar shop. And where better to list themselves than the snazzy center of fashion that is Aoyama?

Lead fashion designer Hidenori Kumakiri sat down with Katayama and laid out the essence of his clothing line. Katayama took that and created what you see here – a mesmerizing field of hundreds of white flowers that is at once both beautiful, surreal and slightly off balance. It’s as if you chased Alice through the hole and ended up in a wonderland of fashion. There are even little white bugs camouflaged in the flowers!

Read some of our other stories on Wonderwall.

The shop opened at the end of August. You can check out their lookbook here.

source: Wonderwall and their blog

December 6, 2011   1 Comment

Ribbonesia | Baku Maeda’s World of Ribbon

Ribbonesia is the art project of illustrator Baku Maeda who, entranced by the often under-appreciated beauty and simplicity of ribbons, decided to launch a product line completely around the art of the ribbon. Combining his love for animals, Maeda set about creating a zoo of creatures – an offshoot being this twitter bird (below) which I got a kick out of.

In case you’re wondering about the man behind the twist, we featured Maeda and his moustache back in 2009, before the launch of Ribbonesia. Now that his modest project has garnered domestic and international acclaim, he has launched a photobook of past and future endeavors. Here are some shots from the book, The World of Ribbonesia, which went on sale December 1 (1,575 yen).

source: Four | Hitspaper | Ribbonesia

December 5, 2011   2 Comments

Rie Hosokai and Takashi Kawada launch balloon bridal project

click images to enlarge

Looking to tie the knot? Balloon artist Rie Hosokai and graphic designer Takashi Kawada, whom together form Daisy Balloon, have launched a new balloon bridal project. With services that include balloon wedding gowns, bouquets, bags and other ornamentation, Daisy is guaranteed to inflate that special day with happiness and a whole bunch of surprised faces.

I wonder if they offer a special “helium” package… to plan your escape in case you get cold feet!

check out our other stories on Daisy Balloon

To commemorate, the two have released “4 Apples of Happiness” (3,000 yen), a picture book that features their iconic Apple Bear as a matchmaker, guiding fellow-animals to find their soul mate.

source: hitspark

November 25, 2011   Comments Off

Jewelry Inspired by Rock Sugar | Recrystal Rings by Dan Tomimatsu

photo by Tomohiko Okutsu | click to enlarge

It doesn’t get much sweeter than this! Japanese designer Dan Tomimatsu has designed a brand new line of jewelry inspired by rock sugar. Much in the same way that the designer recalls those sweet childhood memories of cradling a crystal between your teeth, the rings are intended to invoke fond memories, whether it’s your mother giving you a crystal to suck on, or those sugar crystal experiments you did in science class.

The collection is on display through the end of this week at contemporary creations gallery in Kichijoji. You can see the full lineup of rings on the designer’s facebook page.

source: @DAN_TOMMY

November 24, 2011   Comments Off

Halloween Costume by Mihara Yasuhiro

Haven’t figured out what to be for Halloween yet? Take a cue from Japanese fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro. Although best known for his footwear, Mihara is also an avid kaiju collector. Taking his obsession with the occult a step further, Mihara presents a preppie ghost costume that incorporates a clothes hanger through the head.

“The ghost of preppy style can usually be found in the back of the closet, in the darkest corner, where things are forgotten,” says the designer.

Source: NYT Style Magazine

October 24, 2011   Comments Off