Have you heard of the Kyo-kuromontsuki dyeing, which is used to dye the Kimono worn in Japanese traditional weddings and other celebratory events?
It is a general term for the dyeing technique of dyeing silk black and the technique of painting family crests, and is mainly produced in Kyoto Prefecture.
It is characterized by its deep, elegant black color.
Kyo-kuromontsuki dyeing is one of Japan's proud traditional crafts.
Kyoto's underground water, which is suitable for dyeing, is used and the dyeing techniques of artisans who are relentless in their pursuit of the finest black.
This technique has been designated as a traditional craft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry since 1979.
Our T-shirts, baseball caps, and cotton knit caps are dyed by Kyoto Montsuki Co., Ltd., a pioneer of Kyo-kuromontsuki dyeing.
The company possesses a special technique called “Shinkurokako” which is a special technique among Kyo-kuromontsuki dyes.
By applying Shinkurokako finish, we have created an item that has a traditional black color with deep elegance, water-repellent, and silky feel.
[History of Kyo-kuromontsuki dyeing]
The history of black dyeing dates back to the 10th century, and it is said that it was established as black crest dyeing in the Edo period around the 17th century.
At that time, it was used as the robes of monks and the coat of arms of samurai families.
Since the beginning of the Meiji era, demand has increased for Haori and Hakama with black crests, which are formal clothes worn during ceremonial occasions.
Even today, it is worn as the primary formal attire in black Tomesode worn for celebratory events such as weddings, mourning clothes worn at funerals, and costumes for traditional performing arts such as Kabuki, Sumo, etc.
[What is Shinkurokako?]
Deep black processing is a technique uniquely developed by Kyoto Montsuki Co., Ltd. that makes the black color stand out by attaching a special dye to the fibers, suppressing light reflection and absorbing light.
In addition, the deep black finish not only creates a beautiful black finish, but also makes the fabric somewhat water proof and gives it a silky feel.
Since its founding in 1915, Kyoto Montsuki Co., Ltd. has pursued "a blacker, more beautiful, and long lasting color” as a dyer specializing in black.
The company succeeded in developing a unique deep black process by utilizing the technology it had cultivated over many years to dye silk crests, which are extremely difficult to dye.
In addition, the company’s dyeing is also focused on safety.
In fact, the dye called Azo dye, which is often used in Montsuki dyeing, is prohibited from being used on clothing other than Japanese clothing under the Household Goods Regulation Act.
Twenty years ago, they created a unique black color by switching to reactive dyeing, which does not use Azo dyes, in pursuit of safety.
Since reactive dyes are used instead of Azo dyes, the color is resistant to fading.
[Current situation of Kyo-kuromontsuki dyeing]
The overall Japanese Kimono market was about 2 trillion yen in 1975, but it has now fallen to about 200 billion yen. The market for Kyo-kuromontsuki is no exception, and has fallen from 3 million pieces per year to less than 5,000 pieces per year.
At its peak, there were more than 100 Kuromontsuki cooperative members, but currently there are only three, and the association will be disbanded in March 2022.
The traditional black dyeing industry is on the verge of collapse.
In order to popularize Kyo-kuromontsuki dyeing, in addition to existing kimono fans, we would like to encourage consumers who are unfamiliar with the dyeing method to pick up our products and learn about the benefits of the dyeing because we think it is necessary.
I sympathized with Kyoto Montsuki Co., Ltd.'s vision: “Traditional industries cannot be inherited unless traditional industry techniques evolve to fit modern lifestyles.”
We would like to change this current situation by leveraging the knowledge and experience we have cultivated in the fashion industry both in Japan and around the world to create products that make a variety of customers think, “It's cool!” and “I want to wear it!”.