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Made in Tohoku

Japan

This project is a partnership with the region of Tohoku, which in March 2011 experienced the devastation of the Tsunami created by the country’s most powerful earthquake.

For this project we have collaborated with friends who share our ideals.

The heritage of Japanese craftsmanship

When the devastating tsunami hit Japan’s northern region of Tohoku on 11th March 2011 the whole world was stunned. 

 

Tohoku is known for a broad cross section of industries and the production abilities it holds within each industry. From electronics to handy crafts, the region has always been active and highly productive supplying Japan and the international market with materials and products relevant to modern day life. The livelihood of many people in the region depends on these industries. However, when the tsunami hit their coast, many established factories and companies were wiped out in an instant.

 

Traditional Japanese textile industry is operated through co-ops and industrial alliances to broaden their capacities in delivering accordingly to the markets needs. Depending on orders, small factories and larger manufacturing plants come together to produce the highest quality garments known around the world. When a wide array of small-scale and larger scale factories and workshops were destroyed and affected, most orders were instantly cancelled or pulled. 

Empowerment through business

Learning of the region’s textile heritage, The Inoue Brothers created a first collection of simple T-shirts two months after the devastation, engaging factories that were still operational, nevertheless, without much work. Since the initial collection The Inoue Brothers has kept working and endeavouring to increase their production to support the Tohoku region.

 

Collaborating with likeminded friends such as Richard Windsor, James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) and Hiroshi Fujiwara, the aim is to create awareness for support and empowerment through business. 

Small sewing factory / 10-15 employees

Portrait: Mr. Sakuma / Owner

Place: Funahiki Town / Fukushima prefecture

 

Since May 2011 The Inoue Brothers have collaborated with this small production facility in the rural village Tamura.

The last Kurikoma ai-zome dyeing workshop

Portrait: Mrs. Chiba / Ai-zome Artist 

Place: Kurikoma Village / Miyagi prefecture

 

Ai-zome is Japan’s oldest indigo dyeing technique. It’s tradition dates back more than 400 years. 

Mrs. Chiba is 83 years old and the last master of the distinct Kurikoma-style, a technique that her grandmother and mentor was officially recognised as National Human Treasure for. Mrs. Chiba has no successor.

The last Yagiu Washi hand-made paper

Portrait: Mrs. Sato / Washi Artisan 

Place: Sendai

 

Washi is a Japanese paper tradition dating back over 1000 years. The Yagiu Washi tradition has its origin from the Edo period, which began over 400 years ago and is indigenous to Miyagi prefecture, one of the worst areas effected by the tsunami. 

Mrs. Sato is 85 years old and the last artisan who produces the traditional 100% handmade Yagiu Washi paper. Mrs. Sato has no successor.

The Tohoku collection

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