Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten Co., Ltd. is a long established company devoted since 1796 to the traditional Nara craft of bleached ramie fabrics “Nara-zarashi”. Six of their private brands have announced new products for the 2014 spring collection.
“Yu Nakagawa” (Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten) have set out with the concept of “Nunonuno of Japan”, producing reprints of Banshu-ori from Nishiwaki, Hyogo (available late January 2014) and Jacquard-ori from a mill in Hachioji (available late November 2013) in addition to new textiles from artist Hiroko Takahashi (available January 2014) following popularity in the last season. Another attention-worthy new endeavor is “House Industries×Yu Nakagawa”, a range of Japan-inspired textiles made in collaboration with prolific American type foundry, House Industries.
House Industries is a design company most famous in Japan perhaps for their involvement in UNIQLO T-shirt designs. Their five proposals include “DEER”- an incorporation of the “Yu Nakagawa” logo mark deer silhouette with the letter “n”, “ROPE”- a design inspired by bell ringing ropes in Shinto shrines, and “ROOF”, an expression of traditional Japanese roof tiles (kawara). All are scheduled for sale in late October 2013.
Spokesperson Mutsuko Tade commented, “House Industries’ founder Andy Cruz loves and has an understanding of Japan and its culture. He appreciates the historical townscapes found here and has visited Kyoto several times. When we asked him to suggest to us designs themed on Japanese motifs and the Nara deer, he presented us with five designs. We have taken them and created a total of 16 items including bags, pouches, tapestries and slippers.” Although unmistakably “wa” (Japanese) in their motifs, the House Industries designs possess a Mid-Century modern taste that should appeal to men and women of all ages.
“2×9” is a sock brand established between a Nara sock manufacturer and Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten that kicked off on November 11th 2011 (November 11th being “Sock day” as adopted by the Japan Society of Hosiery). Their meticulously thought-out lineup is an array of functions and designs; such as “Anti-odor Socks” containing washi (traditional fibrous paper) that have a high deodorant effect, “Fit Socks” that reduce swelling of the legs and feet, “Anti-sweat Socks” with moisture-proof properties, and “Anti-constriction Socks” that reduce tightness on the feet and ensure comfortable wear. An addition called the “Dip” series has been made to the popular “Anti-constriction Socks” line, with designs that make the wearer’s feet appear as though they have been dipped in colorful paint (available January 2014). Their unisex design will make them a good choice for couples.
Other brands releasing new and everyday-life enriching spring products are: basic brand “Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten”, proposer of a graceful lifestyle “kisara”, non-iron handkerchief brand “motta” and the Japanese souvenir-themed “Nihon Ichi”.