Mr. Katsuyama and Mr. Shimura don’t use machines for reeling the thread. When degumming the silk they only use straw ash solution. They use natural dye. The weaving is done with hands, not by machines. Beaten with a wood block called Kinuta, the fabric assumes rich texture just like the ancient fabric that Mr. Katsuyama once saw.
The fabrics made through this process are called “Usuhaginu”. Only 4 kimonos and 100 obis are made through the process every year. Mr. Katsuyama sells his kimono and obis mainly at his exhibitions.
People who have tried his Usuhaginu kimono and obi are first amazed at its light weight, and impressed with its graceful look. The obi only weighs half as the normal ones, yet it keeps good shape after being tied. It has been 6 years since Mr. Katsuyama started marketing Usuhaginu obis. One of his clients loves them so much that she has over 20 of them!
Understandably, the Usuhaginu kimono and obi are pricey. Mr. Katsuyama hopes that a person who wears them really enjoys the experience.
Photo above: Usuhaginu fabric for obi
Usuhaginu fabric for kimono