So there we were. Lake Como, Italy. Meeting with one of the premiere printing mills in the world. Strewn about were vintage designs and cutouts collected over the past 40 years. Overflowing from albums and pinned to the walls. The owner, an eccentric and passionate personality had just returned from an auction with a book of Japanese fabrics, some almost a century old. Printed designs that were subtle and faded from a distance, but interesting up close, they caught our eye and we had to learn more.
These vintage prints, made in the Katazome style, were traditionally handmade by stenciling a cloth with rice paste and then painting the cloth in natural indigo. Once the fabric was dyed, the rice paste would be rinsed away to reveal incredibly detailed prints. These prints would gain more character over time as the indigo faded. We knew that we wanted to reinterpret these designs using the best modern techniques.
We started with a luxurious poplin, produced at a mill just outside of Milan. This 80s threadcount fabric is incredibly smooth, with a nice lightweight appeal. We sent this fabric to Como, where we worked with our printers to carefully replicate the faded, inconsistent indigo coloring that made these Katazome prints so special.
Using the vintage Japanese designs as our inspiration, we developed a collection of five detailed star and arrow motifs. In the spirit of Katazome artwork, each design element is formed by a series of small dots rather than sharp lines. From a distance it's unnoticeable, but up close you see how intricate and sophisticated the designs really are.