The new challenge of "WAO"

In our latest article, we introduced the incredible challenge of fashion journalist, Yoshiko Ikoma, to revive and invigorate Japanese traditional crafts.

Yoshiko Ikoma is a founder and chief producer of “WAO”, a new attempt to introduce Japanese sense of beauty passed down through centuries to our modern life. At her first exhibition of “WAO” in New York, she showed 153 items to the public, which were selected by herself and 14 appointed curators.

In our exclusive interview, she talked about her passion for preserving and innovating Japanese aesthetic items, which are struggling to survive due to changing lifestyles.

LOUIS VUITTON x Wajima lacquer (c)LOUIS VUITTON

These accessory cases were created by the idea of LOUIS VUITTON to support the rebuilding of Wajima city. The city was damaged by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake in 2007. Lacquer from Wajima was used for these boxes, and al the proceeds went to the Wajima City Chamber of Commerce and

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Industry.

Yoshiko Ikoma says that she got the idea of creating a new movement for Japanese traditional crafts from what global luxurious brands have been doing so far in their businesses. She is fortunate to have a substantial network with luxurious brands thanks to her career as an editor of fashion magazines such as VOGUE Japan, Elle Japan and Marie Claire Japan.

Many luxurious brands including Louis Vuitton, Baccarat, and Fendi know the necessity of keeping their tradition up-to-date and relevant to create future traditions. The origin of these companies is craftsmanship in Europe. What they are doing now is the result of the development of this craftsmanship, which has been preserved and innovated for centuries.

“Green, Flower Cut for Tea Ceremony” – Baccarat x Tojiro Harumi (c)Baccarat

This crystal bowl was produced by Baccarat in 1903 for Tojiro Harumi, who is an antique art dealer and also a tea master in Osaka. This is the moment that Baccarat’s products were first introduced to Japanese tea ceremonies.

 

She realized that she could apply this idea to Japanese craftsmanship to sustain their business, which is in danger of disappearing due to a shrinking market. Some Japanese craftsmen have already started innovating their products to fit into our daily lives, all the while keeping the traditions and techniques that have been passed down by their ancestors.

Yoshiko Ikoma and 14 curators she appointed collected crafts that, from their point of view, have the perfect combination of Japanese tradition and innovation to fit into our modern lifestyle.

TATZ MIKI “LES BLEUS” – Luxury scarf x Natural Awa Indigo

This scarf was made by Tatz Miki, intrigued by the art of Awa Indigo in Shikoku in Japan. This scarf is comprised of twelve different shades of blue that he dyed using his naturally fermented Awa indigo.