Remote Japanese notion shop celebrates the future of craft
Les 6, a new concept shop in South Japan, sells crafted wares for a new world
A scarce bricks-and-mortar retail launch in an period of on the net browsing, Les Six, situated in Tottori Prefecture, in south-west Japan, is the most recent brainchild of fashion designer Ryohei Kawanishi, who we featured in our story on Moma’s ‘Are Apparel Modern-day?’ show in the October 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*223). It is housed in twin Taisho-period warehouses: 1 provides constrained-version menswear goods and unisex jewelry, less than the Les 6 label, and restored Mingei furniture and lights by Shoya Yoshida, a champion of the folks craft motion the other capabilities a library stocked with artwork textbooks and magazines from Kawanishi’s own selection.
It is a strategy store harbouring an open workshop, where by the designer in some cases invites nearby grandmothers to choose buttons for a garment. The designer rejects the industrialised expression ‘lifestyle’ and instead points out that his new creative hub is grounded in the artwork of i-shoku-ju, an ancestral Japanese term for ‘wear-live-eat’.
Kawanishi, an alumnus of Central Saint Martins and Parsons College of Structure, is identified for imbuing his individual label with sociological commentary, as showcased at institutions this sort of as MoMA (see W*223) and the Museum of Arts and Design and style in New York. He was also inventive director of New York streetwear label Landlord, which he quit in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in pursuit of bigger artistic freedom (the brand name experienced funds move problems, and Kawanishi’s visa was jogging out)’.
This experience prompted a return to his roots, equally geographically and culturally. ‘Fifteen decades of living overseas has introduced me a very clear eyesight of exactly where I am from, and the place I want to go,’ he says.
Reinstalled in Japan, and with renewed goal, Kawanishi devoted himself to Les 6, a collective of designers and craftsmen he’d co-started in 2017. ‘It does not signify that we are six people. My inspiration was Le Groupe des 6, a musical motion from the late 1910s and early 1920s helmed by my hero, Jean Cocteau, a cross-disciplinary artist and fellow hybrid inventive director.’
While not a important tourist place in Japan, Tottori is identified for its sand dunes, an otherworldly landscape that stretches out along the Sea of Japan. The breathtaking dunes were being the backdrop for the black-and-white images of Shoji Ueda, who lived in Tottori. ‘He was internationally acknowledged for his beautiful sense of composition. I appreciate his minimalist and surrealist illustrations or photos.’ Among Ueda’s disciples is Yoshimi Ikemoto, his assistant of 20 several years, who carries on to function in Tottori and whom Kawanishi tapped to shoot the images on these web pages.
The Les Six shop and library is housed in a Taisho-era warehouse fronted by a Japanese back garden
In a sequence of atmospheric pictures, Ikemoto captured a person-off and bespoke merchandise, this kind of as a tailored coach jacket with buttons crafted by a neighborhood silversmith, hand-forged iron hangers, and pieces of repurposed classic kimono.
Les Six is also a celebration of traditional craft. ‘Look at this lengthy wooden table produced from a one slab of 900-12 months-outdated Yoshikawa cedar,’ says the designer. ‘According to my carpenter, the region’s deficiency of sunlight contributes to the density of the community wooden as the trees just take for a longer period to improve. After yrs invested in London and New York surrounded by artwork and manner individuals, I’m now learning something else. It is so refreshing. There is a surge of imaginative power,’ provides Kawanishi, who also has a Les 6 prepared-to-don line in the functions. §