Kansai Trunk Show – West Coast Tour

We are packing up the gear and hitting the road; bringing some new and interesting items to the West coast.

Starting from November 18th I will be showing goods from Tezomeya, Mittan, and Brown Tabby Works.

Los Angeles – Inland Venice

Friday, November 18 4pm-10pm

Saturday, November 19 12pm-6pm

Facebook Event Page

We are still looking for venues to host us in Portland (November 25&26) and Seattle (November 27-29)
This event will feature goods by Brown Tabby, Tezomeya, and Mittan. As well as, paintings by Michael Brunswick, and repair art by me.

San Francisco November 22 – 23rd – Paloma Hayes  

112 Gough St. San Francisco, California 94102

Teusday, November 22nd 5-9 pm

Wednesday, November 23rd Noon – 7pm

Facebook Event Page

We will be bringing a few new Tezomeya items with. This natural dyed mountain parka…

… and this heavy-knit zip-up trainer jacket. And of course our standard organic cotton t-shirts, and woven shirts. Also some new women’s items and a long work jacket.

*old photos taken by my father, scanned by my sister. Please share accordingly.

Tezomeya | Inspiration LA 2014 V Neck T’s

Up on the Etsy store we have a few special items available. These Tezomeya t’s are entirely sewn and dyed in Kyoto, Japan. Each color has a story, and a deep history in Japan. These traditional colours paired with Masaaki’s incredible shibori (tie-dyed) designs are unusual and beautiful.

I picked 10 t’s, in 3 different sizes. There are several variations but for now these are the only ones available. All of the shibori t’s have an indigo over-dye.

Here is some color history… enjoy!

Fujinezu-iro is created by using insect galls and wood vinegar mordant. An insect gall is a growth on a plant created and controlled by an insect. In Edo period (1603AD-1868) Japan, it was not only used as a dyestuff but also as was fashionable in the day, for dyeing your teeth black. The wood vinegar mutes the color to this refined, “shibui” purple. This color was popular among commoners as a substitute to the other, more expensive purple dyes during Edo period.

Tezomeya Inspiration V neck T's 6

Kihada-iro is derived from the Amur Cork Tree in traditional dyes and its use in Japan dates back to the Nara period. But for cotton the cork tree doesn’t fast very well. The color is made by boiling dried pomegranate skin, paired with alum mordant. The color isn’t a bright cheerful yellow, or quite a cold mustard yellow. It is a yellow you would see falling from a tree or written in a poem.

Tezomeya Inspiration V neck T's 7

Toki-iro is the ancient red from the madder root. We boil the madder root and use an alum mordant to make a deep red for silk, and a pastel red for cotton. The word “toki” comes from the Japanese word for the crested ibis, which has this enchanting red color quill.

Tezomeya Inspiration V neck T's 8

“Shibui in Chicago” | Independence Chicago X The Bandanna Almanac

Independence Chicago and this blog have teamed up to bring Chicago a very exclusive look at some special items not available outside of Japan. Readers will be already familiar with the stories and names, but most have never had a hands-on look. I want to extend my thanks to Independence for offering to host this event.

Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 001 Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 002 Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 003 Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 004 Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 005 Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 006 Independence Chicago July 2013 Event 007

Independence Chicago
47 E Oak St, Chicago, IL ‎(312) 675-2105
Saturday, July 20th. 3pm-7pm. Google Maps

Items from Tezomeya, in Kyoto.

Shibui in Chicago  5 Shibui in Chicago  3 Shibui in Chicago  4

A few hand-made items from Narita-san of Brown Tabby
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And more…

Tezomeya Summer


This summer I am planning to show a few samples across the US to promote, showcase, and sell Tezomeya’s products. If you see anything you like please let me know by email. During my visit I want to share the stories of the colors and explain the significance of the products first-hand. Please have a look at the introductory post I did on them last year.

Kakishibu soaking some early summer rays on the roof tiles. They stay like this for up to three weeks, and then flipped over.


These are cotton scarves dyed in a medium indigo shade, and the other is a light khaki green. The scarves are sourced in Thailand and this texture is indicative from the peculiar wavy texture of the weave. They are dyed in Kyoto.

Tezomeya Summer 2

These three are smaller versions of the Thai cotton scarf above. Same colors (natural light) but with one extra yellow color made from dried pomegranate skins.


This is my personal favorite. These are washi or Japanese paper woven scarves. They are very light and hold color differently than color. They are first submersed in water and woven wet, the technique dates back to Edo period. Through modern processes the weave is made extra fine.


Tie-dyed t-shirts. All of the colors at Tezomeya are historical and cultural. Masaaki has spent a lot of time studying the techniques and stories behind each of the colors. These are fun and simple tie-dyed tees that I think are a good example of the fun of Tezomeya’s products.

Natural lighting, really brings out the indigo and red tones.


These are very special loopwheel-knit basque shirts. The horizontal stripes are not naturally dyed however each shirt is garment dyed by Tezomeya. The indigo one and this khaki one really look fantastic.


The shibui selection of t-shirts at Tezomeya is remarkable. These falling loop-knitters date back 100 years. Two threads are woven and it takes aproximately a day and a half to knit a run of fabric.

(from left to right) Two tones of India indigo, my favorite natural khaki color, and this intriguing black color. The black color is the same color that was used by Japanese warriors in sword-fighting training.

Tezomeya Summer 1

This pine green color is named after a peculiar stag-horn seaweed “miru” 海松. The kanji reads “ocean pine”, the color is very reminiscent of the beautiful pine tress that line the Japanese coast. The light-pink is called “haisakura” 灰桜. The characters read “cherry blossom ash”.


Two different shades of India-indigo.

Koromo | What is Koromo?… Factory and Concept

Coromool Factory Door

or Koromo  is an extraordinary clothing and accessories company based in Kyoto. I am sure there are so many other companies that aspire to be this excellent. This company stands out from the crowd because their concepts are based on the simple idea of learning from the past. In Japanese they use the four character idiom “温故知新”.

Vintage Ranru

On the day I visited the factory they were working on this vest. They have a wide variety of products and material, but I was lucky enough to see how they use this old fabric. The old stitches remain and worn-out holes are repaired; the old beauty remains and the mendings add an unintended refinement. See: Shibui

TechniqueHand stitching

They not only collect and reuse amazing ranru, and boro fabrics, but also use traditional techniques in their design. For example: they use resist dyeing techniques with Ise-gami, a traditional craftsman-made stencil paper, instead of silk-screening. The designs are not only unique but the customer can walk away with a folk-craft. Walking into their factory, or even one of their stores is like getting a lesson in Japanese textile folk-crafts. The customer gets a chance to experience with all their senses, the lessons of the past. And spread that knowledge by wearing their products.

I really like that Koromo gives a second life to these textile treasures, by preserving the techniques and knowledge by integrating them into the product. It creates an interaction between the craftsperson and the designer, with the customer. At first glance one can get an appreciation for the skill, and workmanship that goes into these goods.


Kapital and Autumn 2012 | Beni-iro in Gion and Higashiyama – Kyoto

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
― William Cullen Bryant.

Autumn is surely in the air here in Japan, and with the changing colors it is time to enjoy the natural red hues that mark it.


紅色, Beni-iro is a beloved Japanese vermillion. There are many shades of red. Natural reds are found in madder, cinnabar, ocher, and safflower (these being the most frequently used). This sultry red is nature’s way of foreshadowing the coming winter. A crimson curtain falling on the last breath of a slow seasonal death. Kapital uses quite a few of these wonderful colors in their autumn/winter lines. This year they did a kenka shirt in this intense red check.


The various earth tones and blue-hue mixed with the red are fun and stylish. The name we chose for our second child is “Benika”, in Japanese it means safflower. So as a sort of celebration of her birth I wanted to feature this fantastic color.


I really love the beni-iro mixed with indigo hues. The combination is stunning and Kapital really utilized these two colors well this season.

私は紅色とインディゴの 組み合わせが大好きです。相性抜群のこの2色は、Kapitalの今季ラインナップにも多く取り入れられています。

The standard “Old Man and the Sea” cap in denim, was reworked by the guys at Kountry. The light indigo hue mixed with the subtle details of beni-iro are shibui. The boro aesthetic of the hat looked at home amongst the old machiya of Gion.


*Thanks to Michael at Kyoto Foodie for taking the pictures.

* Special thanks to K. Ito for the Japanese translation.

Please also check out the interview I did with Stylesight recently, here.

Kyoto | Kitano Tenmangu Antique Market

It has been a long time since I have had a chance to visit my favorite flea market in Japan. The Kitano Tenmangu market is held on the temple grounds on the 25th of each month. Not only is it a good place to pick up rare items, and browse through Japanese history. It is also a place where a wealth of knowledge is sitting in silence.

Speaking to the people who run the individual booths can help shed some light. The more you see the more you learn. From Kakishibu to Katagami  you can find almost anything related to Japanese textiles. Craftspeople often have their goods and some are eager to share their wealth of knowledge with people that have an interest. One of my favorite visions of this place is through Kapital.

Tezomeya | Kyoto Organic Craft Dyeing

Masaaki and Tomoko are the couple behind the brillant work going on at Tezomeya. Kyoto is where they call home. Their studio is a short walk from The Kyoto Imperial Palace. I was fortunate that they are located in a big city like Kyoto. Most of the time when I go see craftspeople they are always tucked away in the country-side. Masaaki spoke passionately about his crafts and we chatted about his processes. Their kindness made me feel like I was at home. I felt more like I was in heaven though with all the astounding colors and knowledge to behold.

What you will find there is nothing short of extraordinary. A organic-dyed wonderland. Colors that are made from exotic ingredients – insect galls, mordants, indigo, madder roots – the list goes on and on… . Their main product is t-shirts. Organic cotton, woven on 100 year old loop-wheel knitting machines in Wakayama. The colors are shibui, nothing bright or annoying. Real colors from things you can hold in your hand.

They left their careers to open this studio and do their craft in 2002. Something so simple as a t-shirt becomes a cultural treasure. Colors dating back to Edo period and earlier, they are protecting important cultural assets. They are also creating something unique and important by using locally produced materials. By using organic elements in their proceses they are also doing no harm to the environment. The tasks are tedious and time-consuming. The results are truly amazing, and the story of each color is so deep and intriguing.

If readers ever have a chance to visit you can see for yourself their passion for their craft. You can hear first-hand about the history, chemistry, and love that goes into their colors and products. Please if you are in Kyoto, stop by and say “Hello”.

Koromo | Multi-pocket Work pants

I picked these up in Kyoto at the Teramachi shop of Koromo. Deep, dark indigo dipped duck and kendo-gi work-pants. Koromo “衣” means clothing in Japanese, their specialty is Japanese-esq designs but they do some west-meets-east design as well. This pair of pants are a good example of how they combine workwear with Japanese fabrics.

The stitched pockets, I anticipate will fade nicely. The duck fabric is a really nice sturdy cotton weave, all entirely made in Kyoto.

The kendo-gi fabric I am sure will fade to a really nice light hue of indigo. This fabric is commonly found in martial arts uniforms, because it is sturdy and light weight.

The Koromo tag, and contrasting fabrics. The overall feeling of these feels really rough, and hard but will soften over time. I can’t wait to see how they are going to fade over time.

Elephant Factory Coffee

Elephant Factory Coffee is a quiet corner for coffee and cafe lovers in Kyoto.


From the grey walls to the natural wood counters and table, the entire atmosphere of the cafe is warmth. The setting is hidden Kyoto, located only a few steps from Gion you will find your self with locals and artists chilling out. The sounds of Neil Young, bossanova and lightly plucked guitars are reminiscent of Japanese koto music that one could hear in the ancient capital. 


Plenty of local and artistic literature to read while enjoying your coffee. Custom ceramics are available for sale, and add to the simple-rustic interior. 


The simple decorative features to this cafe add to the simple minimalist aesthetics. 



Copper kettle, paper drip coffee. Delicious and deep coffee relaxes the soul, and warms the heart.


Locally roasted beans, freshly ground to each order.


Located on the 2F of a small inconspicuous building on a narrow Kyoto side-street. The location is quiet and private.