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“aimun,” the Brand New Ryukyu Indigo Brand
post : 2016.02.08 01:00
Yuimaru Okinawa Co., Ltd. started 3 brands of Okinawan craft 7 years ago; “nife,” “serumama,” and “aimun.” The company started these brands because they have an ambition to “increase the value of Okinawan craft.”
Why did they start their original brands?
“Okinawan crafts including potteries, Ryukyu glass, and dyeing were mainly available at souvenir shops or Okinawa Fair. Even though most artists got lots of orders and made products, their lives never got better. So were the sellers. I kept worrying about how to change this situation. Then I reached to the point that we need to increase the value of Okinawan crafts, and also felt that we need to change the structure of this industry,”
said Shuji Suzuki, the president of Yuimaru Okinawa Co., Ltd.
“Nowadays, we say ‘Okinawan ○○’ when we refer to crafts. Those people who love Okinawa buy crafts, but the market will be wide spread if more people buy more crafts. That was why I chose boutiques that handle daily commodities to target a new market.
For example, some customers entered a boutique named “BEAMS” in Tokyo to look for clothing. But they fell in love with glasses, and the glasses happened to be Ryukyu glass. I think it is important to make products that match customers’ needs to ‘pick the good ones.’
That was how the 1st brand “nife” was started. Kimie Asato from the atelier “Sinseitoubou” creates beautiful arabesque designed dishes, and a designer named Hiroyuki Kinjo worked on its brand logo.
And, nife’s latest work is this dish which expressed soil into Ryukyu glass. It was produced by Seiichiro Inamine from a Ryukyu glass studio named “Chufuki Glass Koubou Niji.” The dish’s silhouette which the light passes through looks very beautiful.
“About 80% of Ryukyu glass are sold as souvenir. However, I heard that even though consumers bought glasses while traveling Okinawa, some of them do not get the glasses out of shelves and use them. So we launched our second brand named “serumama.” It is more casual than “nife,” and changed the shapes of items for people to use in daily lives.”
Cooperating and creating products with ateliers in Okinawa, and asked a designer Toshikatsu Sazie to design the brand’s logo and others.
“Originally Ryukyu glass was made from waste bottles and started from its simple design. Later, they started using glass raw material as material, and it helped color and technique to grow wider. For “serumama,” each product designed as modern and common design, and also applied the original color of Ryukyu glass.”
“These are ‘PLANET.’ This series was released from ‘serumama,” but ‘PLANET’ applies dynamic colors and various techniques of Ryukyu glass. Plus the series images planets of the solar system.”
Beside Ryukyu glass, a pottery series named “KAASA” is also wonderful. It has the pattern of kaasa (leaves), and it can be used for daily life.
And their latest brand is “aimun.” These are made of Ryukyu indigo (ai), and all of these items (mun) are wonderful. Speaking of Ryukyu indigo, it is usually considered as one of the color of bingata and dyeing, but “aimun” focuses on Ryukyu indigo itself.
Based on Ryukyu indigo which is cultivated in Izumi, Motobu Town, and the pattern of each item is fresh. Also, all of them are in the motif of Okinawa’s original flower patterned blocks.
100% of organic cotton was used to make the stoles, and the white flower patterned blocks gives deep indigo color snap.
And, canvas was used for making tote bags. Since they are stout, they can be useful for many occasions such as shopping.
Each brand aims for teaching “richness of Okinawan spirit” in lifestyle to “live politely and peacefully.” Would like to add something nice to your lifestyle?
Yuimaru Okinawa Official Website:
Yuimaru Okinawa Official FB:
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)