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The Japan Times Recommended Plan

Feb 3, 2021

Ancient fabric Oshima tsumugi spins new future in crowdfunding project

The Tsumugu Project has started a crowdfunding campaign for its mission of “building relationships between people” through the famed silk textile Honjo Oshima tsumugi. The project hopes to increase the value of tsumugi.

An extraordinarily well-known Japanese fabric, tsumugi is one of the world’s top textiles and is very comfortable to wear. It has the longest history and tradition among woven fabrics in Japan. It is mainly produced in Kagoshima Prefecture by hand-spinning silk and transforming the threads into beautiful patterns through ancient techniques.

The origin of Honjo Oshima tsumugi can be traced back 1,300 years, making it one of the oldest and most traditional textiles in Japan. In Kagoshima, sericulture has been practiced since before the Nara Period (710-794). The method of dyeing tsumugi is based on an ancient technique from the time of Emperor Tenchi (661-672) using colors derived from plants. The patterns of Honjo Oshima tsumugi are created by fine kasuri threads. In 1867, the Satsuma clan participated in the International Exposition in Paris, and silk Oshima tsumugi fabric was exhibited there.

The project connects people together and collaborates with many trendy brands to sell limited editions of Tsumugu products, including some of the following:

Rewards

New Era Cap:

Tsumugu has partnered with New Era Cap to produce collaborative caps. The company has made caps exclusively for prominent baseball teams and now is partnering with Tsumugu. The caps suit both men and women and fit all sizes. They have a reduced price to reward the supporters of this crowdfunding campaign.

New Era Cap

New Era Cap

Bring:

Bring

The Bring company believes that wearing clothes should have a purpose — you don't just wear them, you experience them and feel a part of them. Bring’s main distinction is that it makes new clothes out of recycled ones and from wasted fabric and threads.

Bring

Bring

Bring

Bring

Bring

Satsuma Button:

Satsuma Button

Having started in the Edo Period, Satsuma Button uses traditional Kagoshima craft techniques that produce gold and other splendid colors. The buttons were highly valued by Western collectors, and their sale helped fund the effort to overthrow the shogunate. These buttons lend the wearer an elegance like jewelry or stylish kimono.

Kamawanu:

Another collaborator with Tsumugu is Kamawanu, maker of tenugui hand towels, carriers of a way of life that started in the Heian Period and became fashionable in the Edo Period. Their soft tsumugi fabric makes them perfect for wiping hands and face or cleaning, and their colors and patterns make them excellent for wrapping things. The more you wash them, the softer they feel.

Kimiko Kawai and Yosuke:

Kimiko Kawai and Yosuke

Tsumugu has made a patchwork bag using vivid modern colors and pieces of Oshima tsumugi in collaboration with designer Kimiko Kawai and handicraft artist Yosuke. Kawai, well known for her chic and highly practical work, is putting her passion into the bag to make it perfect. Simultaneously, Yosuke, who has a great reputation for bold colors and stylish designs, is helping to make the bag as good as it can be. The "natural life" bag is carefully woven using high-quality thread and tsumugi. It is light and durable, with an adjustable shoulder strap.

The project is conducted as an all-or-nothing effort. If the goal is not reached, your support will be refunded. Production of the products will start after the crowdfunding campaign ends, so minor changes are possible. Please give your support to the project before the campaign period ends on Feb. 4.