After finishing our Japanese Swoon Sixteen Quilt (shown in last week’s blog post), we decided to take you on a travel field study of Japan. Most especially, the exquisite fabrics and the fun fabric stores we found.
We lucked out and happened upon a traditional Shinto wedding party at a shrine in Tokyo. Notice the intricate silk patterns worn by the married women.Most of the major department stores had a Kimono department. Some are available ready-made, but most are custom ordered. They offer a large selection of cottons, and silks, for the more expensive ones.This amazing formal kimono was found in a high-end specialty shop. It was really tempting to handle the fabric and examine the handwork. These are so expensive that there is a huge market for secondhand kimonos. Even the food halls are a work of art. The Japanese are know for their artful food, and it was everywhere: department stores, underground subway halls, train stations, street vendors. And the packaging is just as intricate and artistic.Onto the fabric shops: It can be a bit overwhelming when there are floors of everything one would ever need– or imagine. We were surprised to see this wall of Cotton+Steel, until we remembered that most of our favorite quilting cottons are made in Japan. They are sticklers for quality.There are so many lines of fabric that we have never seen in the US–an invenerate browser’s dream.Clothing and Home Decorating are also both very popular there, and most fabric stores carry an array of the nicest linens, lawns, canvas, cottons, and my personal favorite–cotton eyelet in many colors and designs. Aha, another sighting of some of our favorite quilting cottons. This entire wall of linen in woven stripes, prints, and solid colors made us wish we had stores like this at home.And you already know how much we love Liberty of London!This floor had kimono fabric on the big roll for those skilled enough to make their own.And the walls of buttons! This selection is only rivaled by Britex of San Francisco. The only problem with so many choices is trying to make a decision.We loved how wonderfully stylish the shops had everything displayed.Just strolling down the street was like being in an art gallery.They really do have a knack for pleasing display and arrangement.The school uniforms were even cool and very tailored. We saw so many of these being worn around the cities.This very cool Marimekko store was found in a mall in Nagasaki. You can always tell by the bold colors and happy designs.A window display by Marimekko.Cool accessories and fabric by the yard, all by Marimekko. We saw lots of fabric that had the look and feel of Liberty, but it wasn’t labeled as such.Checks and stripes, in all colors and sizes, are super popular in Japan. We spotted this cute top at an overlook of the Nagasaki Harbor.
We didn’t buy everything we wanted, but we did get a sampling of some very fine things. This was definitely a trip to remember!