Do you have Vol.1 of SANGOU MAGAZINE? If you do, please look at its cover. See the haori (a Japanese half-coat) worn by Sangou. He purchased that haori in a stall in Harajuku over ten years ago. At the time, he often wore a hat, clogs, jeans and haori. As he grew older, he wore haori a great deal less frequently. These days, he hardly ever wears one. However, on the occasion of the launching of SANGOU whose theme was "garment that can be worn roughly", he remembered the haori from the old days. He wore it when he was photographed. He also wore it at the exhibition.
At that exhibition, he was told, "Wear haori over the 'crown garment'--just make that your standard. Make haoris." Accepting that as a great idea, he lost no time in hunting for the haori fabric. He found the texture of the crepe of the haori he was wearing, most applealing, so he started to look for the kind of crepe which was the product of traditional folk craft.
In the process of reading about Tango crepe, a certain weaving store caught his attention -- "Kobayashi, the Source of Tango Crepe", "Specializing in White (pre-dyed) Fabric". He was attracted by its lyrical name. He learned that their making "White Fabric" meant that they were so particular about making that product that they refer their customers to other places for dying. Being captivated by such spirit of the craftsmen, he decided to visit that store.
It was in Kyoto, the center of production of Tango crepe with a history of 300 years. It is certainly a fabric with a long history. This luxury silk crepe was woven in the area in Kyoto, called Yosano. His trip to Yosano was a long one. Even though it was part of Kyoto, because of its location on the coast of the Sea of Japan, it took him a long time to get there. It was a four-hour bumpy train ride from Kyoto Station. When he saw Amanohashidate, one of the three leading scenic spots of Japan, he knew that he was finally approaching his destination. When hegot off the train at the station, he saw the sign, "Welcome to the kimono town of Yosano". It was indeed quite a long journey from Tokyo. He was excited to have arrived at long last.
He hesitated to admit that Yosano was a provincial town − quiet, old and tranquil. The only difficulty he had was that there was no transportation from the train station to his destination. He had intended to take a taxi, but no taxis were available. Neither was there a bus. So, he had no choice but to go on foot. It took him about an hour to get there.
Even though he was a total stranger to this rural town, Mr. Kobayashi extended him a warm welcome. He showed him his factory right away. He was surprised by how complicated the working and the movement of the weaving machine were. The greatest feature of Tango crepe is the way the cloth was woven by twisting the silk threads. The complicated way the woof and the weft were intertwined, produced the delicate patterns in the woven cloth. It is hard to explain how it is done without actually seeing it. If you want to know about SANGOU's weaving, there is a video on it on the HP, so please watch it.?
It has been said that the expression, "I'll try and do it to the best of my ability" had its origin in the hard work of twisting the silk threads to be woven. It must have come from acknowledging the importance of making something worthwhile by dedicating the time and the effort. One can see how incredible the amount of time and effort that were required to produce the delicate Tango crepe. After weaving the twisted threads, the woven fabric is scoured to shrink it and to produce crimping, thereby making the texture to acquire its body. Thereafter, the fabric is dyed by "Kyoto Montsuki", using its "dark black process". That is how extravagantly SANGOU'S haori is made. It is a kimono that can be worn roughly. Even though it is costly, it is a haori of value, one that the wearer will cherish all his life. I recommend this haori to those who feel that authentic kimonos are beyond their reach. You can put on this haori casually over your jeans to let yourself enjoy wearing kimono.