"Unexpected Event" Alan Knit Production Diary (November)
STORY | 2019/12/17
There is a term called "Shimofuri". There is a calendar that has been used since ancient times called the 24 solar terms, which divides the year into 24 equal parts based on the position of the sun. "Risshun" and "summer solstice" are one of them, and "Shimofuri" is the last season of autumn.
On October 24th, this year's Shimofuri season, we received news. The planned atelier shop has been postponed, and the online release date of the new Aran knit has also been postponed. The only reason given was "delay in adding products."
One day in November, two weeks after the news, I decided to visit Yuki's atelier and ask her to tell me what happened.
“Actually, we were planning to open an atelier shop on October 26th and 27th.” Mr. Yuki talks while pouring tea into a glass.
“We planned to make reservations on the 26th and open for free on the 27th so that anyone can come anytime. I thought I was going to send a minute, and when I took out the knit from the cardboard, I noticed something strange, and I fell to my knees, saying, "Huh!"
This year's Aran knit is purple and navy. It is a design that stamps foil on a knit that has been dyed in each color. However, when I inspected the product before shipping it, the foil stamped on the navy had lost its luster.
Gold leaf (foreground) that has undergone a chemical change and has turned the shine of silver transparent.
“Three years ago, I dyed navy and red, but for some reason, the foil changed in a few weeks, and it was all useless. I didn't know why it was only those two colors, but this time, the same phenomenon happened again with navy.When I investigated with the dye factory and the ink manufacturer, I found out that the color fixing agent used after dyeing. It seems that the component called hydrogen fluoride in the foil caused a chemical reaction, and the aluminum foil disappeared and became transparent."
A color-fixing agent is a chemical used to prevent color transfer when dyeing dark colors. When the samples were dyed in August, the samples had less staining and no color fixing agents were used. Even after mass production started, we didn't plan to use it at first, but the dyed navy knit was darker than expected, so we decided to apply a color-stopping agent to ensure safety. .
A chemical reaction occurs between the foil and the color fixing agent. No one could have foreseen that. There are few precedents for the process of dyeing knitwear and stamping foil on it, and there are still many unknowns.
“When I researched it, I found out that wool itself also contains sulfur. Sulfur has the effect of discoloring metals. It seems that some sheep have strong sulfur content and others have weak sulfur content, so from this year, we have started giving our customers a paper with detailed instructions on how to care for wool materials. did"
The problem was discovered three days before the atelier shop. If things go on like this, customers will come. Yuki hurriedly contacted customers who had made reservations at the atelier shop and told them that they would like to postpone it. Then, I contacted the customer who had ordered the navy knit at the September order fair and explained the situation.
“There were customers who traveled all the way to the order fair, so I thought that I should tell them properly first, so I contacted them by e-mail and phone. Either I will refund the full amount, or I will come to the atelier again. I received it and asked if I could choose a different color knit.Most of them said that they would choose again, so I was really grateful and sorry, I was in tears."
Then, on November 3rd and 4th, we held another order meeting at the atelier. At the same time, instead of the navy, whose foil had become transparent, I decided to dye an additional purple knit. He announced that he would be producing 50 new pieces this year, which was supposed to be 25 in purple and 25 in navy. However, I couldn't sell all 25 navy ones, so I decided to dye an additional 25 purple ones.
When I visited the atelier, that kind of work had finally come to a halt. "The work finally settled down, and yesterday I was exhausted and slept all day, so I went outside for the first time in a day and a half." While drinking tea in the atelier, Yuki-san said so and laughed.
Yuki's atelier is on the street, and the entrance has a glass front. We rented it earlier this year and installed the curtain rails, but the curtains are still being made. He likes the openness of the space, but he can't concentrate on his work if it's open all the time, so he often hangs a cloth over it.
“When I was looking for a property, at first I thought it would be more spacious, but I thought that working alone in a single room in an apartment would be lonely and depressing. I was looking for a place with high ceilings and access to water.Then I found this property by chance.The location of a former rice shop was also interesting, and I thought, 'If it's on the street, it might be easier to hold an event.' ’ I decided.”
However, at that stage, I was busy preparing for the workshop and presentation to be held at the Hara Museum in March, and I did not have time to make a concrete plan. The success of the event gave him the idea to open his atelier to customers.
“Until now, I mostly sold to select shops and department stores, so I didn’t have the opportunity to interact with individual customers. After finishing the atelier shop, I really feel the responsibility of communicating directly with customers.When I was at the Hara Museum, I was able to make an unprecedented big announcement thanks to the involvement of various people. There is a limit to the amount of work that I can do on my own, so I am thinking of finding someone who can help me build the brand.
Yuki creates works using vintage items. Vintage items have traces of someone's use, and the traces emerge through processing. Since he is dealing with someone's memory, he is often asked, "So you're interested in people?"
“Rather than liking people, I find things interesting,” says Yuki. “My driving force is my fascination with vintage items, so it would be a little different to say that I am interested in people. I don't feel at all that I want you to wear it, or that you can't wear it unless you're this kind of person."
Yuki's creation of works is a work facing vintage alone in the atelier. Rather than imagining someone wearing clothes, it is time to face the material itself. However, by opening his atelier, he has the opportunity to meet customers face to face, and says that his future production is likely to change.
“The order fairs were all reservation-only, but I think it’s kind of a miracle that people go out of their way to make a reservation. I think it takes a lot of courage to go there, and I'm very happy that there are customers who come to my atelier after going through that procedure, and I feel that it's a responsibility that comes with it. I think it might be a good idea to make it a little more open, but there are interesting things that can be done in a closed environment, and I'm still trying to figure out the arrangement."
By the way, what will happen to the navy knits whose foil has become transparent? I will ask Yuki-san that question.
“We are looking into the possibility of reselling the product if we find out the cause and restore it once again. When the same phenomenon occurred a few years ago, we couldn’t find the cause and had no choice but to dispose of it. However, this time, the dyeing factory and the ink manufacturer investigated the cause together, so I was able to guess to some extent.First of all, one of them was "specially washed" and hydrogen fluoride was added. I tried layering foil on the knit again, but I have to wait for about a year to see if the foil is okay, so I'm going to put it out in front of the customer right now. I can't do it. It's frustrating."
"Yuyake koyake" was played when I heard the story. Even though it's only 17:00, it's pitch black outside, and I realize that winter is finally approaching.
“When I was little, I was a key kid, so when I got home from school, I would always wait for my mother and my brother to come home.” Looking back on her childhood memories, Yuki said, "Waiting is painful." Even after the sun had set, Yuki continued working in her atelier. While waiting for the day to hand over the knit.
words by Rinshi Hashimoto