Aloha Shirts a la Kimono: Transcending Techniques of the Past 着物柄のアロハシャツで、先人の技を今に伝える

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Located in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, the Kamedatomi Corporation started out as a dyeing factory for kyouyuuzen (delicate patterned fabric) kimonos in 1919.
京都市右京区で1919 年から京友禅(華やかで美しい文様が特色の染物)の染屋として創業した株式会社亀田富染工場は

Today, Kamedatomi is regaining popularity for their Hawaiian aloha shirts made using traditional kimono patterns.                   

Initially, over 100 employees worked at the factory when kimonos were still in demand.                                       

But as the kimono-wearing population decreased, so too did their business start to diminish, and from around 1989, 100% of their factory-dyed fabrics were used for western clothing.  
着物を着る人口が減るにつれて業務縮小となり、1989 年頃からは、染めの仕事の100 パーセントが洋服地になりました。

Kamedatomi Corporation president Kameda Kazuaki’s long-term goal was to revive the several thousand treasured designs now being stored in the company’s collection.  

So, after learning about Japanese immigrants in Hawaii who started making aloha shirts from their old kimonos, he decided to try it out for himself.     
ハワイの日系移民が着物をほどいてシャツを作ったことがアロハシャツの始まりと知り、試しに1 枚だけ仕立ててみました。

 “When I wore it to the Kamogawa Noryo festival, my shirt got a lot
of attention,” he explains.      

And thus began the aloha shirt manufacturing business, his tough road to success.

Kamedatomi Corporation sometimes uses over 20 different color shades to express its intricate kimono designs.
亀田富染工場では、着物地ならではの濃淡を出すために、多いときは20 色以上を使用しています。

The dyeing process starts when his craftsmen measure the exact amount of dye and glue to be used for keeping the color intact.

Next, the cloth is laid out on a nasendai, or dyeing table, where a stencil is used to hand dye the colors.   

Endurance and perseverance are necessary as the dying process for a full, 30-meter piece of material restarts for each newly added color.
長さ30 メートルの台で色が変わるごとに何度も繰り返す作業は、根気と忍耐が必要です。

Additionally, over Japan’s scorching summers this process usually takes place in rooms where temperatures can reach more than 40 degrees Celsius.

Prices for silken aloha shirts, which range in size from SS to LL
for both men and women, start from 18,900 yen.
アロハシャツ(男女兼用サイズ、SS LL)は、絹製で18,900 円から。

They are not mass-produced because they are all hand-dyed, and are currently only available in stores, not online.            

Each shirt comes with an explanation about its own pattern or symbolic design, including ryuujin (dragon god) .

This homage to kabuki style further gave Kameda the opportunity to host a hand-drawn performance, in English, of the “Sukeroku Yukari-no Edo-zakura” (Flower of Edo) at a Singaporean Isetan store.  

The images, created by employees of the Kamedatomi Corporation, were positively received by the audience of both young and old alike.

During the summer, Kameda’s good fortune continued as a film director helped recreate a full-sized haunted mansion set, which was then opened for free to the public.

Kameda wanted the haunted mansion to be more than just scary, he wanted it to be artistically enjoyable, so he covered the walls with yuuzen-dyed fabric.

Kameda has also organized many other events including a fashion show
at a car  dealership.

This past January, he and fashion designer Katsura Yumi co-designed an evening dress which was then submitted to the Paris Collection Haute Couture.
2010 1月には、パリ・コレクション・オートクチュール部門に、ブライダルファッションデザイナーの桂由美さんと共同製作のイブニングドレスを出展しました。

Says Kameda, “I am most concerned with how we can satisfy our customers and not how we can sell our products.”

Kameda believes that the sky’s the limit when it comes to the idea of mixing traditional and contemporary techniques.      

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