Palette Places: HOSOO, Kyoto

One of the highlights of our Kyoto trip was having a private tour of the HOSOO textile showroom and factory. HOSOO designs and develops incredible fabrics used all over the world by architects and fashion designers like Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel…


While I was earning my BFA in Textile Design, we had touched upon the art of Nishijin weaving unique to Kyoto so it was an amazing and moving opportunity to visit HOSOO. They are one of the most famous weavers of the Nishijin district and at the forefront of where the traditional Japanese art meets the modern world with fresh, unexpected beauty.


The house of HOSOO goes back twelve hundred years, officially established in 1688 to provide silk kimonos and obi to the Imperial Courts and high ranking citizens of Kyoto. It was only recently over the past decade that the Hosoo family began to modernize the business to intersect globally with interiors and fashion. All while remaining in the same workshop and residence that we visited, a modest traditional Japanese townhouse with the most charming garden. In the garden, we were lead to a separate studio that houses all of the whirring looms busy at work.


Even though the modernized looms are no longer the traditional ones used in Nishijin weaving, they still work in a slow, painstaking way with the thousands of dyed yarns. Human eyes and hands aid in the entire process from start to finish to give each piece of fabric a special feel of craftsmanship full of meticulous detail.


One of my favorite details of Nishijin fabrics is the inclusion of gold and silver washi paper shreds. The gossamer paper threads are woven into the silk to create to create a subtle shimmer and strength. The Hosoo family unites this technique with combinations of new methods to produce a sophisticated and richly textured fabric, never before imagined.


We were able to touch the finished textiles in the showroom, which have appeared in collections for Dior and Chanel, used in interiors by Louis Vuitton and Peter Marino. By partnering with other contemporary living design studios like OeO, they have formed a collective called Japan Handmade. The showroom also displays all of the beautiful housewares designed by the collective. I ended up taking a piece from the Daily Life Collection home; I also love the shiny Kaikado Objects. Everything is done in vein in the true HOSOO way – just beautiful.


All photos by me, except for the fifth garden photo and second to last kimono photo. For more information on HOSOO, visit the website, which includes video.