We want to leave the consideration and consideration method of creators to the future! The dialogue between member of Kiwakoto and development partners.
Shuzo Oka（General Manager, Textile Raw Materials Department, Matsumura Co., Ltd.）×Kanako Kajihara（Textile Designer）×Masaru Yoshimura（Kiwakoto Director）
This time Kiwakoto spoke to Silk brushed blanket manufacturer Takiyoshi and Silk Cashmere Stall Muto to release textile products packed with artisans’ attention. This time, we welcomed designer Kanako Kajihara, who has been looking at textiles from around the world, on the project, focusing on the material “silk” as a textile that we want to put together in a luxurious lifestyle, and decided to incorporate it into our products.
By chance, Takiyoshi and Muto, who we are requesting this time, have been purchasing yarns by Matsumura, a silk trading company founded in Kyoto for 155 years.
To make good things, use raw materials. We also spoke with the general manager of the textile raw materials department of the company, which supports the production of one of Japan’s leading textiles.
Mr. Kajihara, I think the key word in this product development is “silk”, but please tell us about its attractiveness and value in the global market.
In the days when kimonos were the main focus, silk was used closely in everyday life. However, in today’s development of Western-style clothing, the image of expensive and difficult to maintain has preceded, making it difficult to use many. However, in recent years, it has become known that the amino acid formulation of silk, which is a natural fiber, is closest to the human skin, and not only the aspect of luxury material, but also as a material that does not put a comfortable burden on the body, recognition has increased. In Japan, silk has been developed that can be washed at home by making use of processing technology, and top maisons overseas have been highly evaluated for the development of Japanese functional silk simply as well as high-quality, fine-grained silk threads.
In addition, I think that Japanese technology is highly evaluated for the combination of silk and other materials, and for silk-like synthetic materials.
In recent years, we have realized that the number of customers seeking high-quality silk in the apparel industry, such as socks and underwear, has increased due to the functional attractiveness of being gentle on the skin.
With the liberalization of silk yarn and silk fabrics in 2005, major general trading companies were withdrawn from silk one after another. Why did your company survive in such a situation?
Before the liberalization of silk yarn and silk fabrics, silk was, so to speak, a “interest business”. At that time, most of the major trading companies were in the business of dealing with silk, but since it became a free transaction, it gradually withdrew. Our company has grown with the development of kimono, with the strength that salesmen visited customers directly every day, mainly in the Nishijin area with ground in Kyoto. We were able to continue to respond to customer requests in detail and build relationships, so we were able to survive without being greatly affected even after liberalization.
Recently, Indian silk is also attracting attention as an industry. Production control is still difficult, so it may be developed in the future.
In Vietnam, there are also factories where Japanese Americans divert traditional Japanese technology and have developed an integrated base of yarn. Along with our technology, we have established a careful production system, which is One of Japan’s strengths, and we believe that it will continue to grow in the future.
We can purchase excellent materials from such producers, and we can create and deliver appropriate materials according to the site of each manufacturing.
I think that the sensitivity of the delicate and polite making of Japanese products will be able to cultivate the ultimate technology and produce materials and products that are required from the global stage. I am very grateful to be able to interact with wonderful craftsmen, and I would like to match the design to the material so that I can inherit the baton. I would also like many people to experience what comes from Japanese manufacturing.
Through silk materials, I learned that Japan’s continuous spirit of technology and manufacturing is creating new market value through passing down in Japan and abroad. Over the past ten years, the kimono industry has been shrinking, but the spirit of manufacturing has been alive, and the technology cultivated there has changed shape and will remain in the future. We also want to create initiatives to create such a positive chain.