HOSOO, the venerable Nishijin-ori weaver of Kyoto, has been taking strides to change the future of Japanese craftsmanship. In two installments, witness how HOSOO’s endeavors have unfolded and are giving new meaning to passing on tradition―as if bringing to light the true essence of Japanese aesthetics and time-honored arts in a global scope.
Part one can be viewed from here.
Flagship stores filled with charms of trational crafts
In September 2019, HOSOO opened its renovated headquarters and revealed “HOSOO FLAGSHIP STORE”, on the first two floors of the building. The first floor is filled with original textiles for home decorations. The combination of weaving techniques cultivated and perfected throughout the long history, special threads and modern designs, the various textiles displayed at the store resemble dramatic oil paintings. With its one-of-a-kind presence, it is no surprise that HOSOO’s series of textiles has been used for interior decorations at world-class boutiques such as “Dior” and “Hermes”.
Since the brand took off ten years ago, HOSOO has been increasingly recognized both in Japan and around the world. Today, HOSOO’s textiles are coveted not only by luxury maisons and companies across the world, but also by individual consumers for home decorations. Responding to this new demand, HOSOO launched an original home collection which includes Nishijin-ori sofas, chairs, cushions and room slippers. HOSOO’s new flagship store serves the purpose of showcasing various items from the new collection.
After walking through the rows of original home collections and beautiful textiles, you’ll find the “HOSOO LOUNGE” at the back of the store. Here, you can enjoy Japanese tea and original sweets served in traditional Japanese tableware. Original seasonal macaroons, created with the image of layering colors in Japanese kimono (Kasane-no-irome), are available at the lounge. The three kinds “Winter” macaroons – ginger and brown sugar-flavored “Matsujyu”, Amazake (sweet, low-alcohol Japanese drink made from fermented rice)-flavored “Hatsu-yuki” and Yomogi-leaf flavored “Tsubaki”(each 400 yen, excluding tax) – can be enjoyed at the lounge until February 29. Gift boxes are available for those who want to share the joy with friends and family.
Going upstairs on a staircase located in the center of the store, you’ll encounter “HOSOO GALLERY” on the second floor. The brains behind the idea to bring the flagship store, the lounge and the gallery all in one place was Masataka Hosoo, the 12th-generation head of HOSOO. Hosoo, who also produced HOSOO RESIDENCE, is always looking for ways to communicate the joy of Nishijin-ori and other Japanese traditional crafts across the world. “I want this place to become a hub for spreading the Japanese craftsmanship and its unique sense of beauty to the world,” he said.
Apart from being a renowned Nishijin-ori weaver with a history starting from 1688, HOSOO has many different faces. It also serves as a kimono wholesaler with a mission to introduce the many dyeing and weaving artists across Japan. Hosoo is also among the main members of “GO ON”, a next-generation of Japanese craft workers in Kyoto. HOSOO is moving away from solely focusing on its traditional Nishijin-ori business and the dyeing and weaving industry. The brand today is aiming to spread Japanese traditional crafts to the world in new and innovative ways. The gallery represents this new spirit of HOSOO.
Seasonal exhibitions directed by Hosoo are held inside the gallery. The current exhibition features the collaborative works of HOSOO and a Dutch designer Mae Engelgeer who is known for her unique sense of colors, sharp designs and experimental creative methods. Engelgeer spent a month in Kyoto in the summer of 2019, getting to know the beauties of Nishijin-ori at HOSOO and working with craftsmen in in the city, searching for new creative possibilities in textiles. HOSOO’s new 2020 textile collection, born out of innovative ideas that sprung out of the month-long stay, is displayed in the gallery along with unique installations. The exhibition title “COLORTAGE” was coined from two words “color” and “heritage” to represent the joy and happiness as the ever-lasting techniques of traditional crafts meet the new world of colors.
After more than 300 years since its foundation, HOSOO continues to communicate to the world the joys of Nishijin-ori and the Japanese textile techniques in innovative and fun ways. The world is waiting to be awed by the new story HOSOO will weave through its new flagship store.
HOSOO FLAGSHIP STORE
412 Kakimoto-cho, Chukyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Opening hours: 10:30-18:30 (closed on Sundays, public holidays and New Year holidays)
Held from December 20, 2019 to April 11, 2020 at HOSOO GALLERY
Opening hours: 10:30-18:00 (closed on Sundays, public holidays and new year holidays, entrance closes 15 minutes before the closing hour)
Entrance fee: free of charge