Lifestyle Brand “Utsurou” and the World of ‘Kusaki-zome’

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“What’s ‘Kusaki-zome’?”

Essentially, kusaki-zome is a natural dye technique, meaning that the dye comes from eco-friendly natural ingredients, unlike chemical dyes. Kusaki-zome is considered to be a very casual and unique form of dyeing, and can be done as a simple DIY project at home, using items that would usually be thrown away, such as the outer layer of an onion. However, most kusaki-zome projects use “grass” (“kusa”) and “tree” (“ki”) as the dyes; hence the name “kusaki-zome” was given.

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"How does Kusaki-zome work?"

Kusaki-zome is completed after two specific tasks are repeated numerous times.
①Extract the pigment by boiling the ingredient
②Let the extracted pigment settle into the fabric (Mordanting)

During the “mordanting” process, the extracted pigment and a “mordant” (a liquid that often includes various metal ions) will combine and intensify the color of the fabric. The color of the fabric may change completely depending on the mordant, and this is considered to be another interesting factor of kusaki-zome.

Many of you may think that because kusaki-zome uses natural ingredients, it is impossible to create fabric with bright and vivid colors. However, by repeating the two steps mentioned above over and over again, the heaviness of the dye would increase, therefore bringing vibrancy to the fabric that is no different from a chemically dyed fabric.

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“What’s ‘Utsurou’?”

Utsurou is a lifestyle brand created by Tomoko Kurisu in the spring of 2015 that offers various kusaki-zome products to a variety of people. The origin of the name ‘Utsurou’ comes from the Japanese word ‘utsurogi’, meaning “to relax” or “to ease.” Tomoko wanted to make textile-based products that would stand by each and every consumer, as he/she enjoys the seasons, weather, and landscape easing into each other day by day.

「Kusaki-zome Stall」

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“Utsurou’s Kusaki-zome Workshop”

Not only does Utsurou offer fashionable textile items such as stalls dyed and designed by Tomoko, but it also offers workshops that allow people of all ages to actually experience kusaki-zome. At the next workshop, students will be able to dye either a stall or a totebag. For the dyes, we have prepared pink “tsutsuji” flowers and purple logwood chips. Come on down and join us if you want to make a one-of-a-kind product on your own!

Date and time: 7/9 (Sat.) 14:00-16:00 (Registration starting at 13:30)
Place: Social Business Lab II
    Inokawa Building 2F, 1-24-4, Kakigara-cho, Nihonbashi, Chūou-ku, Tokyo
Price: Bring-your-own-fabric: 3500 yen
    Tote-bag: 4000 yen
    Stall: 5000 yen

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