September 19, 2011

Pickups from Japan: Part 1 - SOU・SOU

In the next little series of posts I'll be documenting some of the items I brought back from Japan. First up are some goods from Sou Sou in Kyoto. For those who don't know what SOU・SOU is here is a little blurb from their US site 
"Based in Kyoto, Japan, SOU・SOU was created in 2002 by Katsuji Wakisaka (textile designer), Hisanobu Tsujimura (architect), and Takeshi Wakabayashi (producer). While modern and edgy, the brand is dedicated to preserving the best traditional techniques by using skilled craftspeople and time-tested materials."
I purchased a dotted/striped blue tenugui and two handkerchiefs, which will and have already been used as pocketsquares. All three of these are made from Ise cotton. Ise cotton was one of the most praised fabrics in Japan from the 14th century until after WWII. Although there is only one manufacturer of Ise cotton left in Japan, due to the shift in demand for cheaper fabrics after the war and a move towards western clothing, it is still made on the old looms using traditional techniques and only 40 feet of fabric is made each day by the 20 sewers. Over time as the fabric is washed the starch comes off and the lightly twisted fabric begins to soften making this cotton extremely soft to touch. 
There were around 5 SOU・SOU stores scattered around a small area in Kyoto and Andrea and I visited them all. Each one focused on one aspect of the brand whether it be the textile store, the shoe store, the home goods store, etc. Each store was beautiful and the workers were fully kitted in SOU・SOU attire. The above picture is from outside the textile store. I highly recommend visiting the brand's stores in Japan and if not check out their online store. 
One of the items Andrea picked up from SOU・SOU was this pair of sweet cloth sandals in a dotted/striped indigo pattern.

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