Designer Ishibashi working to promote Okinawan traditional Uji-dyeing

Designer Ishibashi working to promote Okinawan traditional <em>Uji</em>-dyeing

Yumiko Ishibashi (second from left), Chairperson Etsuko Kakihnoana (center) and other members of the Uji-dyeing Cooperative who are working to create new products, on July 10 at Tiguma Hall in Toyozaki, Tomigusuku City.

July 18, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

In an effort to promote the fascinating art of Uji (sugarcane)-dyeing nationwide, Yumiko Ishibashi, a designer and tailor living in Kyoto, has been creating a line of products. At-tracted to Uji-dyeing, which is a signature fabric-dying style of Tomigusuku City, Ishibashi has been working with the full support of the City’s Uji-dyeing Cooperative.

When she was a university student, Ishibashi became interested in Uji-dyeing after hear-ing her friend’s sister talk about it.

Recalling the past, Ishibashi said, “There are many sugarcane fields in Okinawa. I was sur-prised by its dyeing color, which was different from what I expected.”

Uji-dyeing scrunchy and belt.

Ishibashi is in charge of design and sales at her own online shop “Mint Julep.” She said, “I like the cool image of Uji-dyeing. I would like to design something that ladies can casually wear.”

Uji-dyeing has been used widely for products such as tablecloths and kariyushi shirts. However, Ishibashi makes fashion items for women such as casual skirts that are distinct from traditional Uji-dyeing products.

Taking Ishibashi’s suggestion, Chairperson of the Cooperative Etsuko Kakinohana said, “Uji-dyeing is a new craft. Making products with new styles will be good chance to pro-mote Uji-dyeing beyond Okinawa. Members were touched by Ishibashi’s passion.”  

The Cooperative decided to support the production.

Eriko Irei, who will weave and knit Ishibashi’s products, said, “Although it was a new field I had not experienced, I appreciated the proposal. We would like to share ideas and make good products.”

Ichiko Okuhama and Akiko Takaesu will be in charge of dyeing.

Products include a skirt (11,000 yen), a scrunchy (5,000 yen), and a belt (7,000 yen). It takes one month from order to delivery.

For further details, call Ishibashi at 090 (3614) 8109.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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