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BUAISOU. is an indigo artisanal collective that includes an indigo dye farm and dying workshop. Founded in 2012 by two Japanese indigo farmers and dyers, Kenta Watanabe and Kakuo Kaji, the partners develop hand-dyed fabrics, fashion accessories, and home textiles to order. The techniques can be applied to a wide range of organic materials, including wood, paper, bone and leather. The name BUAISOU., pronounced “boo-i-saw”, is in honor of Jiro Shirasu, the first Japanese man who wore American jeans.


Indigo Masters Kaji and Watanabe were trained in Tokushima on Shikoku Island in Japan, where the majority of indigo plant production is based. The tradition of producing indigo dye in the region, dates back over 700 years. The area is renowned for its indigo leaf farming, as well as for composting the leaves into ‘sukumo’, using a technique of fermentation in ash lye, calcium hydroxide, and wheat bran, otherwise known as a ‘hell vat’.


Kaji and Watanabe harvest indigo leaves throughout summer, and compost them during winter to make sukumo. Working with traditional vats, the partners follow the time-honored fermentation recipe of the region. The name ‘hell vat’ comes from the complex and painstaking care it takes to create and maintain. The garments dyed in the vat us one hundred percent natural, and dyes natural fibers a deep and luminous ‘Japan Blue’, that can be washed with white garments without any transfer.


The BUAISOU. team are the first of the Tokushima indigo collective to bring the ‘Indigo farm to closet’ concept into the 21st century. Their mission is to bring the master dyer Kakuo Kaji’s workshop from the farm in Japan to Brooklyn, introducing hands on Indigo workshops to the local community. BUAISOU. are creating an educational program in Brooklyn, where Kaji and Watanabe will recreate traditional hell vats with sukumo shipped directly from the farm in Tokushima. Now a team of four artisans, BUASOU is preserving the tradition of Japanese indigo, striving to bring new vitality to “Japan Blue,” through artistic and functional creations.


Website: www.buaisou-i.com