How Kyoto students are reviving tradition

Within the Kyoto University of the Arts, T5 (Kyoto Traditional Culture Innovation Laboratory) jump started by students is introducing a new perspective on fashion and design. Integrating Kyoto’s time honored traditions with modern twists, this project bridges the gap between old and young, as well as East and West. 

Members of T5 flying to Milano Salone
They exhibited this large chochin at Milano Salone. It enables you to see how it’s made from the inside.
The artisans who made the lamp are the Kojima family who we wrote about in a previous post

Hoping to share the true colors of Kyoto with the world, Whole Love Kyoto, a brand born from the T5 lab, has been paving the way for fresh ideas based off of classic Kyoto style. From scarves, hats and to shoes, Whole Love Kyoto is reviving tradition, changing it into something that could also be appreciated by younger generations. What catapulted their brand into the spotlight is their original Hanao shoe, a sneaker with a design based off the classic “geta” sandal often worn with Kimonos and yukatas. Having the comfort of a sneaker without losing the traditional look of a geta or hanao sandal makes Whole Love Kyoto’s design the perfect hybrid of classic and casual. 

Traditional “Geta” worn on the left next to a new interpretation aka the “Hanao shoe”
One of many patterns and colors available

By using new takes on fashion and design to bring Kyoto closer to youth, the students at Whole Love Kyoto are making what was once seen as old and shabby wearable and accessible for their own generation. 

Surrounded by so much history and centuries of knowledge, T5 laboratory is an ideal incubator for innovation that will continue to shine a light on the magic of Kyoto still unseen. 

Though communicating, collaborating and creating with craftsmen, Whole Love Kyoto is presenting the value of experiences born and found only in Kyoto. With all products marked as “Made in Kyoto”, their emblem represents not only the quality of their products but also the pride they have for the city. 

A baseball hat made with “chochin” technique

In parallel with product creation, T5 also keeps a flow of articles, interviews about traditional crafts, and focus articles on new projects or events that are happening around Kyoto all on their homepage (in Japanese). 

A new twist applying traditional technique to the wooden “spoons” you get in convenient stores when buying ice cream

Projects like these are a sign that things are looking up for tradition, as the next generation is making large strides to share so much of what Japanese culture has to offer. 

For the latest news on T5, check out their homepage. For more information on Whole Love Kyoto, click here and also check out their official Instagram

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