RealVoice #3 A new normal: rediscovering the charm of traditional textiles, Kurume Kasuri.
“Kaze no Okurimono”, is a store that specializes in "Kurume Kasuri", which is originated from Chikugo, a southern part of Fukuoka prefecture in Japan.
This specialty store has been open for seventeen years. Now Ms. Kiyoko Akashi, who started the store, and Ms. Yukari Akashi, her daughter and the current shop manager, are doing business together.
In these #3 episodes, I will introduce what Kurume Kasuri is and Ms. Yukari Akashi’s proposal on how to coordinate it with daily clothes and items. Later, I will share their advice on what is important to start a business in Japan.
Kurume Kasuri was made from a dot pattern by a girl.
It is said that Kurume Kasuri was invented over two hundred years ago at the end of Edo era. At that time, a girl “Den Inoue,” who was around 12 years old, found a white dot on her cotton clothing that she had been wearing for a long time. Based on this white dot, she came up with an idea to make a new pattern, protecting some parts of the cloth to not get tinted. Cooperating with normal people and consulting together, she found a way to produce the new pattern. Thus Kurume Kasuri was started as a side business for farmers and became a popular textile among normal people across Japan after Meiji era.
Please see an example pattern of Kurume Kasuri here.
Now, Kurume Kasuri is a nationally designated traditional craft certified by the Japanese government. Kurume Kasuri was the only craft made from cotton to be certified.
Many pattern designs of Kurume Kasuri have been created, accepting flower printing, polka-dots, geometric patterns and so on. Kurume Kasuri became a brand among people.
Kurume Kasuri – daily wear with any item.
Even though Kurume Kasuri, was made for normal people to wear as daily clothing, some people might feel hesitant to wear it since it is certified as a traditional craft by the Japanese government.
For beginners who hesitate to wear a traditional wear such as Kurume Kasuri, Ms. Yukari Akashi, a shop manager of Kaze no Okurimono shows an example coordinate set of a dress made by Kurume Kasuri with short leather boots.
Kurume Kasuri can be worn with as many items as one would like to try. For example, when one would like to dress up, it is possible to coordinate with a pearl accessory or something that sparkles. Also, when wanting to wear casual clothing, it may be good to wear Kurume Kasuri clothing with jeans and sneakers. A good advantage to Kurume Kasuri is it is very light and comfortable to wear. – Ms. Yukari Akashi giving tips of Kasuri styling.
The unique and characteristic indigo color of Kurume Kasuri, gives different impressions depending on how the light hits it, from being elegant to giving a casual impression. When outside or in natural lighting, white and blue patterns on indigo cloth show up vividly and is beautiful. Meanwhile, when one is under a light that makes classical atmosphere at a restaurant, the indigo cloth complements one’s skin color brightly. The power of indigo brings out one’s charm that I didn’t notice before.
In recent years, “Kurume Kasuri” has been recognized as a brand. In March 2020, “BEAMS”, a popular fashion brand among youth in Japan, released the items such as a hat and a dress in the style of “Kurume Kasuri”.
When speaking of Japanese traditional clothing, "Kimono", made of silk, or a Japanese belt called “Obi” are most well-known when thinking of Japanese traditional cloth. However, in daily life for ordinary people, the Kurume Kasuri has worth, with it’s beautiful indigo color and durability.
How about adding a new Kurume Kasuri item to your closet?
It may create a new impression about your beauty.
Official website of Kaze no Okurimono, a specialty store for Kurume Kasuri
Please order via the website above.
Kaze no Okurimono is a specialty store for items made in the style of “Kurume Kasuri”, a traditional craft from Kurume city. The items Kaze no Okurimono sells cloth, fabrics, bags, hats, stoles, fashion accessories, interior items and so on.
Kaze no Okurimono offers over three hundred types of cloth. People can pick up what they like or tailor their own clothes, such as dresses, men’s-clothing, kid’s wear, Kimonos, mats, goodwill and so on.
Ms. Kiyoko Akashi, and Ms. Yukari Akashi.
Managers of Kaze no Okurimono, a specialty store for Kurume Kasuri and Japanese knick-knacks. Founded in 2004.
Address : Center of Chu-o Ichibangai shopping street, 31-7 Higashimachi, Kurume city, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan.
For more the details about Kurume Kasuri, please check out the website by Kurume Kasuri Union using automatic translate.
Next episode, I will introduce the advice from Ms. Kiyoko Akashi about when she started a business seventeen years ago, and tips on how to communicate with Japanese customers based on her real experiences.