T-shirts, jeans, bandanas: the 45R trinity. As passionate as we are about T-shirts and jeans, we’re no less devoted to the humble bandana.
A bandana has endless uses. You can wear it in your hair, tie it around your neck, use it as a handkerchief or belt, even wrap it around your lunchbox. This everyday versatility, and the way they grow more supple with age, makes bandanas quite similar to Japanese tenugui cloths.
We love a well-worn vintage bandana. But we don’t want to make “imitation vintage.” We want to make bandanas that will come into their own and be the vintage pieces of tomorrow. And we’ve upheld that ideal in pursuing our own unique approach to monozukuri (manufacturing). A standard selvedge bandana is around 55 centimeters square. There’s a reason for this. Traditionally, bandanas were made from bolts of fabric that were 110 centimeters wide. Cut that in half, and you get the 55-centimeter bandana width. That’s also why only one edge of a bandana has selvedge - it’s from the edge of the original bolt of fabric. Sew up the other three edges so they won’t fray, and your bandana is complete. People were rational back then, and averse to waste. We make our bandanas from fabric woven on an old 110-centimeter machine, just like the good old days.
The edges of our bandanas are finished with rolled hems. We roll the fabric very thin, and sew as close to the edge as we can. After years of refining this process to make our rolled hems narrower - and narrower still! - we have achieved a width of just 2.0 millimeters. Only long years of experience and practiced technique made this possible.
Naturally, the patterns on our bandanas are hand-drawn by our finest artists, even the delicate polka dots and paisleys. The silk-screening is also done by hand. We screen on both sides of the fabric to create the same pattern viewed from either direction. This expresses the philosophy of ura koso omote - roughly, “what is hidden from view is a product’s true face.” Indigo is another irreplaceable element. We have developed 33 different shades of indigo to draw on, and we could not make our bandanas without them. The yarn is dyed with an indigo that suits the season or the theme and woven into fabric before discharge printing is used to add the patterns. Discharge printing is a technique that removes dye from the fabric instead of adding it. By carefully controlling how much dye is removed, we can create countless shades of indigo.
One of the wonderful things about indigo is how it matures and changes over time. We think everyone should have an indigo bandana of their own to “raise” like a living companion in daily life.
Finally, our bandanas come in a wide range of fabrics. Gauze bandanas, refreshing to see and cool on the skin, perfect for tying around your neck in summer... Tenjiku bandanas, with a pleasant softness and a friendly, cozy presence ... Silk bandanas, gleaming with an elegant allure ... Linen bandanas, Indian khadi bandanas, flannel bandanas for autumn and winter, and many more. You’re sure to find a favorite bandana for every occasion.
The breadth and depth of our bandana range is testament to how seriously we take them as part of our trinity, along with our ongoing commitment to nai monozukuri: creating products that don’t yet exist, but feel like they should. None of this was accomplished overnight. It came from wisdom accumulated step by step over many years. We look forward to finding new possibilities for bandanas for years to come as well.