Kyoto Denim – Take Senko

Changing the form of something while maintaining its essence

“Kyoto denim” emerged from the desire to protect the techniques used by kimono artisans and see that they were carried on in an industry that was in decline. Traditional kimono dyeing techniques such as Kyo-yuzen, Kyo-komon and Kyo-zome were applied to denim to develop chic, distinctive denim.

Dyeing techniques are extremely sensitive; not only is the kind of cloth used important, it is necessary to adjust the stiffness of the paste and the steaming time for the piece being worked on according to the climate on the day. Extremely capable, Take Senko is actively involved in new dyeing endeavors, with products ranging from kimono to jeans. While the form may change, each piece is created in the same way as a kimono – individually, by hand, by artisans – and in this way, the essence of the techniques used is left for future generations.

(right) Toyoaki KuwaharaKyoto Denim designer
Denim brand established in 2007 to pass the traditional dyeing techniques of a long-established store producing kimono since the middle of the Edo period to future generations.
Left: Hisaaki Take,Take Senko
A dyeing studio employing Kyo-komon patterns used with kimono and working with dyeing practices such a Kata-yuzen.
Applies the skills its artisans have honed for more than sixty years to denim.

Yuzen, Bassen

Yuzen-dyeing is the general term used to describe the practice of drawing pictures using dyes made up of water and fine particles that has been handed down for more than three hundred years. The dye permeates to the core of fabrics such as cotton and silk and colors them, resulting in a deep color whose appearance changes according to the way the light hits the dyed cloth. Bassen (discharge dyeing) refers to a process whereby the original color of the fabric is stripped away. The color is stripped only from places that have paste infused with a chemical agent applied to them. This technique acts as a base that is influenced by the processes carried out after the color has been removed; the sections that have had their color stripped away may become the design themselves, or color may be applied to these sections for an attractive look.

  • Patterns are placed on top of the fabric one at a time and paste infused with a chemical agent is brushed on by hand by artisans.

  • The composition of the paste differs according to the climate on the day and the thickness of the fabric.

  • The paste infused with a chemical agent permeates to the core of the fabric revealed by the pattern, and it is steamed at a high temperature.

  • The paste is washed away with water; the piece is dried and a beautiful discharge pattern appears on the denim.