“LEARNING FROM THE PAST TO DEFINE THE FUTURE.”

The roots of the Suzusan label lie in the Japanese town of Arimatsu, where the Murase family, has been refining textiles with the traditional shibori technique for over 100 years.

Now in their fifth generation, they regard shibori as a cultural heritage that must uphold with endless passion and commitment to perfection. In order to stop the decline of the shibori craft that has been witnessed over the past five decades, they are attempting to give the technique a more contemporary relevance through the development of new and innovative procedures and modern creations.

Shibori is a traditional Japanese textile finishing technique that has been used in the country for over 400 years and involves refining fabrics through extremely intricate handwork. In it, parts of the textile surface are tied, sewn or folded before dyeing. Through this careful manipulation of the textiles, subsequent dyeing yields flowing colour gradients and contrasts, and even three-dimensional patterns and structures.

The production process has remained practically unchanged throughout centuries and is reminiscent of a village production chain. Before completion, a textile will typically pass through four of five different pairs of hands. Traditionally, shibori was used on silk and cotton fabrics, which were then made into typical Japanese clothing such as kimonos.

Hiroyuki Murase, creative director of suzusan, is the eldest son of the Murase family. He studied art at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham Surry as well as at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. Due to the distance to Japan Hiroyuki has been able to develop an increased awareness for the work of his family which is so rich in tradition. In 2008 he founded the suzusan label in Düsseldorf with the intent to place the Japanese handicraft into a contemporary context. He created upscale fashion collections to be produced by his family in Japan.

This initiative helped to revive the shibori handicraft which had experienced a decade long downturn. Today young people work again in the traditional way in the artisanal studios of Arimatsu. They enrich exclusive clothing made of fine yarns with individual modern designs. Suzusan sells the label to a selected set of international client from Europe, the US, Austria and Asia.