We’re absolutely all for anything designed to preserve traditional aspects of ancient cultural identity, with the exception of Union Jack shorts, so it’s with open arms that we welcome the Otsuka Gofukuten in Kyoto. In Asia particularly, traditional dress was worn in many countries as part of daily life up until very recently, but global homogeny, business changes and the influence of the West over children through popular culture means those traditions are dying. Boo, we say.
Selling the special cloth used in making kimono, Otsuka Gofukuten hopes to put the iconic Japanese garment back into fashion with their modern designs. Yusuke Seki from Tokyo was responsible for producing the design direction for the store, located at the foot of a Shinto shrine. There is something of the temple about the interior here – whether it’s the foliage spilling out against the tile walls, or the steps and stairs that lead customers through the physical and pricing levels of the shop.
Spools of colourful gofukuten lie in accessible natural wood drawer-shelves, and it’s fitting that the extraordinary product should be the visual centrepiece of the whole enterprise, even if it’s not shouty about it. Progress is almost always a good thing, but rather than roll with it unthinkingly, Otsuka Gofukuten is making a very stylish stand against cultural erosion, which we wholeHeartedly applaud.