The Fuji Textile Collaborative Project kicks off in
Fujiyoshida City (I)
Raw Color Studio’s textile research and exhibition report

Exploring textile innovation: The Fuji Textile Collaborative Project

Traditional textiles and pioneering innovation in Fujiyoshida City

Fujiyoshida City, located just an hour and a half by express bus from Tokyo, boasts a rich textile heritage dating back over a millennium, thriving on the fertile landscapes and pristine water from Mount Fuji. Today, it’s a hub of tradition and innovation, hosting events like factory visits, popular craft markets like Hataori Festival, and Japan’s first textile art festival, the renowned Fuji Textile Week. All of these initiatives are aimed at reinventing textiles through collaborations with diverse creators and artists.

Fujiyoshida City (© Fuji Textile Week, photo by Shuhei Yoshida)

A project to further empower the local industry: the Fuji Textile Collaborative Project kicks off in 2023

The Fuji Textile Collaborative Project aims to unlock the potential of textiles in architecture, spatial design, product design, and art by fostering collaboration between Yamanashi Prefecture textile producers and international creators. This initiative seeks to create a framework for blending the region’s unique textile technology with global creativity, forging connections between local and global industries.

The project kicked off its three-year plan in December, with Dutch design studio Raw Color embarking on a research trip to Fujiyoshida, alongside an exhibition at FabCafe Fuji and a talk event framed in the Fuji Textile Week.

Watasho Orimono factory (© Fuji Textile Collaborative Project, photo by Noam Levinger)

Raw Color’s Fujiyoshida Days

lRaw Color is a design studio based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, founded by Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar. Their clients include well-known brands and institutions such as Adidas, IKEA, Dutch Design Week, Nanimarquina, and TextielMuseum. Raw Color brings their unique interpretation of color usage, blending graphic, textile design, and product design to provide support in creating tools necessary to determine the future direction of companies.

This visit marked Raw Color’s first time in Japan, offering them a valuable opportunity to explore the weaving culture unique to Fujiyoshida City and Yamanashi Prefecture while considering future collaborations.

Raw Color funder Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach (© Fuji Textile Collaborative Project, photo by Noam Levinger)

"URA-gaeshi" exhibition at Fuji Textile Week

During the Fuji Textile Week 2023 held from November 23rd to December 17th, the Fuji Textile Collaborative Project kicked off with an exhibition titled “URA-gaeshi.”

URA-gaeshi (裏返し) means “inside out; upside down; flip side; opposite; contrary; reverse” in Japanese. Like the meticulous craftsmanship of the lining that is the specialty of the weavers of the town, the Fuji Textile Collaborative Project aims to reverse the order and bring them to the forefront. The kickoff exhibition focused on the often unseen making process and the stories of the unheralded heroes, such as the technicians working behind the scenes and the artisans who ensure the highest quality results.

The exhibition, with the cooperation of Funakubo Textile, showcased a dynamic display depicting the process from thread to fabric, along with introductory exhibits of local producers such as Funakubo Textile, Maeda Genshoten, Oyamada Corporation, Watanabe Textile, Watanabe Orimono, and Tenjin Factory. Additionally, visitors to FabCafe Fuji could observe representative works by Raw Color and a selection of their prototypes, processes, and sources of inspiration, showcasing their representative conceptual approach and inspiring a new synergy between textiles and design.

Raw Color’s selection of artworks, from left to right “Quarantine Quilt”, “Temperature Textile” and “Index Collection Blanket” were displayed at the back wall of FabCafe Fuji. (© Fuji Textile Week, photo by Shuhei Yoshida)

Display at the back room of FabCafe Fuji introducing Raw Color's creative process (on the right side) and displays showcasing the unique tools and inspirations found during the research of Fujiyoshida's weaving workshops (on the left side). (© Fuji Textile Week, photo by Shuhei Yoshida)
Details of the exhibition showcasing Raw Color's creative process. (© Fuji Textile Week, photo by Shuhei Yoshida)
Details of the unique tools and inspirations found during the research on Fujiyoshida's weaving. (© Fuji Textile Week, photo by Shuhei Yoshida)

Talk Event at the Fuji Textile Week

On November 24th, a compelling talk session took place with Raw Color, featuring Arieh Rosen, the Fuji Textile Collaborative Project creative director, and Tsuyoshi Yagi, the president of DOSO Co., Ltd. and producer for the project.

Centered around the theme “Exploring Color, Material, and Conceptual Work,” the session delved into various aspects, including the industrial and natural colors inherent in Fujiyoshida, as seen through the lens of Raw Color’s renowned color artworks. With Yagi, a local resident, and Rosen, a frequent visitor to Fujiyoshida, sharing their perspectives, the discussion generated an engaging atmosphere for attendees. This insightful session underscored the significance of integrating professional design into the textile industry of this region for the production of high-quality goods.

A lively talk session. From left to right, Arieh Rosen, Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar. (© Fuji Textile Collaborative Project, photo by Noam Levinger)
Explaining the creative process. From left to right, Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar. (© Fuji Textile Collaborative Project, photo by Noam Levinger)

An immersive research experience

In addition to organizing exhibitions and talk sessions, Raw Color embarked on a comprehensive research program, visiting seven local producers in Fujiyoshida. The team also attended lectures at the Yamanashi Prefectural Industrial Technology Center, delving into the rich history of weaving and engaging in discussions with weaving artisans.

These visits provided firsthand insights into the intricate work processes at the factories, fostering a deeper connection with the weaving artisans of Fujiyoshida. The immersive experience facilitated vibrant discussions during our subsequent talk sessions, nurturing mutual understanding and collaboration.

Visits to the local weaving factories. (© Fuji Textile Collaborative Project, photo by Noam Levinger)

Raw Color is distinguished by its comprehensive activities in the field of design, including textiles, product design, web design, branding, and the design of colors and patterns. During each visit to the weaving artisans in Fujiyoshida, Christoph and Danier sensitively explored specific challenges and possibilities, fostering lively conversations that intersected culture and expertise.

Simultaneously, Raw Color shared their learnings from research and projects conducted at the Textiel Museum in the Netherlands, enhancing the weavers’ inspirations.

Final discussion with local weavers. (© Fuji Textile Collaborative Project, photo by Noam Levinger)

The stay in Fujiyoshida was a whirlwind of exhibitions, talk events, and visits to local industries, all packed into a short period. Despite its brevity, every moment was intense and stimulating. As the team prepares for the next steps, these 8 days were undeniably inspiring for both Raw Color and the local weaving artisans.

It will be exciting to witness the outcomes when the insights, experiences, and skills of designers and producers converge. Stay tuned for more updates!

Project Overview

  • International Collaborators: Raw Color Studio, Studio Samira Boon
  • Local Collaborators: Funakubo Orimono, Oyamada Co., Ltd., Tenjin Factory, Maeda Gensho Shoten, Watoko Orimono, Watanabe Orimono, Marukousan Industry Co., Ltd., Fujichigira Co., Ltd., Hikari Orimono, Makita Shoten, Miyashita Orimono, Yamajyu Seishi
  • Project Management: FabCafe Tokyo, DOSO Inc., FabCafe Fuji
  • Creative Director: Arieh Rosen
  • Special Thanks: Yamanashi Prefecture, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan, Dutch Creative Industries Fund, Yamanashi Industrial Technology Support Center

Guest Creator

Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar

Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar(Raw Color Studio Founders)

Materialising colour across design disciplines.
Raw Color is an Eindhoven-based design studio founded by designers Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar. Raw Color has a unique understanding of how to use colour in design. Working across disciplines, blending graphics, textile design and product design, Raw Color helps companies to develop the tools they need to take a position for the near and far future.
The studio's work reflects a sophisticated treatment of material, embodied through research and experiments to build a visual language. Together with their team, they are working on commissions, and through self-directed projects, where the studio works intuitively to bring clarity to complex ideas.


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