Kyoto Batik

Makiko Minagawa, textile director at Issey Miyake, has long been interested in developing original fabrics. She is now the creative director of Haat, a label inspired by the way in which traditional Indian craftsmanship thrives in the modern world. Haat creates innovative, contemporary fabrics with the aim of preserving Japanese artisanal skills, making long-lasting clothing with that conveys the warmth of the artisan's hand.

During May, Haat’s latest creation REAL BATIK, will be the subject of an exhibition being held at the Issey Miyake store in Kyoto. The exhibition is a showcase for the fabric, as well as the craftsmanship of Kyoto, where it was made. The REAL BATIK series evokes the characteristic cracked dots of batik through a traditional Kyoto print method that places the classic cracking pattern of batik across a lightweight rayon twill. The wax resist dyeing technique as applied to thin rayon, requires a high skill level. The process was carried out by craftspeople in Kyoto, who carefully adjusted the temperature and thickness of the wax and then used a roller to apply wax to printing plates. Finally, with a paintbrush, they added details to complete the pattern. This delicate work is only possible for those with decades of experience in the technique. 

As well as this reinterpretation of batik, Haat have produced a double-structured jacquard weave inspired by graphite, with a hand-cut top layer to give the fabric a unique texture, they have used llamé to represent the glossy surface of muscovite rock, and created feather-like fringes woven into the weft of their fabrics. This combination of contemporary eclecticism and high-level craft skill has resulted in some extraordinary fabrics.

REAL BATIK is at Issey Miyake, Kyoto, until Sunday 26 May 2019 

Blog post by Laura Gray

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