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 be upheld with endless passion and commitment to perfection. In order to halt the decline of the Shibori craft that has been witnessed over the past five decades, they are attempting to give the technique 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 this process, parts of the textile surface are tied, sewn, or folded before dyeing. Through this careful manipulation of the textiles, subsequent dyeing yields flowing color gradients, contrasts, and even three-dimensional patterns and structures. The production process has remained practically unchanged throughout centuries and reflects a communal manufacturing tradition. Before completion, a textile will typically pass through four or 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, the creative director of Suzusan, is the eldest son of the Murase family. He studied art at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey, as well as at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. Due to the distance from Japan, Hiroyuki has been able to develop an enhanced awareness of his family’s rich tradition of work. In 2008, he founded the Suzusan label in Düsseldorf with the intention of placing Japanese handicraft in 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 once more work in the artisanal studios of Arimatsu to enhance exclusive clothing with individual modern designs. Suzusan offers its label to a curated clientele from Europe, the US, Australia, and Asia.