From Oct 30 to Nov 2 of last year, “coromoza,” the co-working space dedicated to fashion, held an exhibition titled “WORKS.” The exhibit served as a place for various creators to come together and network. Seven brands, all of which focus on handcrafting its designs and creating unique items, participated.

The brand “SEi” by knit designer Yumiko Sei, who is a student at Vantan, won second place at the Asia Fashion Collection in 2013. It will participate in New York Fashion Week to be held this February. Under the concept “tsunagu (to join together),” hand-knitted designs will create a show of haute couture knitwear without relying on mass production. The designer creates each piece with the thought of making the clothes for someone special. “Threads bring together many things, and it comes from the heart,” she says about her dedication to knits. She dyes the threads herself to create a different nuance each time. The fluffy knit cover resembling a scarf is full of warmth and presence.

MITTAN designed by Takeshi Mitani proposes “new native costumes for today.” Kimono textiles and Asian cloths from India, Laos, China and more are dyed with vegetables. Having worked at the textile maker “Hinaya” of Kyoto, Mitani has experienced the art of making Japanese style. “I want to communicate Asian cultures to the rest of the world. I don’t want the designs to be just ethnic, I make sure to add modern touches to each,” he explains. His designs are simple and refined with a soft feel.

TONTONTONTUTU by Wataru Shuto and Tomoaki Takashi, who graduated from Bunka Fashion College, operates a shop/ atelier in Beppu, Oita. The brand has also launched its online shop via STORES.jp. Under the theme “fashion with one foot in a ditch,” it offers witty and humorous New Era caps, Tokyo T-shirts and clothes reproduced with embroidery from second-hand clothing. The items created are mostly one-offs. Using original ideas such as street performances and promotion videos uploaded on YouTube as if to promote music, the brand markets its designs.

The brand ROGGYKEI: by designers Hitoshi Korogi and Keiko Miyakoshi, mifrel: fusing old aspects with modern taste to express the creator’s view, ISLAND HOPPING: introducing various folk costumes and hand-made leather accessories, and synaesthesia: a shoe brand known for its graphics and organic forms also participated in WORKS. It is by luck and accident that the brands, which are small in scale yet present meaningful and unusual items, got together under the keywords such as hand-made, craft, folk costume, haute couture and one-off. Their attitudes and directions seem to be another expression for the sense of impending crisis of the current fashion industry.

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