From design to sewing, a couturier is responsible for every step in the garment-making process. Meet Toshio Morita, a certified couturier who has devoted his thirty-year career to making clothing samples. In the fashion industry, samples are generally produced by mass-production factories, but Morita's company specializes in the making of this "very first garment". Why does he focus solely on samples? After sharpening his sewing skills as a young man in London, Morita says he discovered the joy – among the challenges - of "giving life" to a design that exists only on paper. Learn what the 70-year-old Morita is up to as he continues to break new ground in the world of sample-making.
Morita helms a garment factory in Shibuya, Tokyo. With a staff of thirty, he creates garment samples for famous designers and brands, as well as retail franchises and even corporate uniforms, sometimes within the span of three days. This range of products calls for vast techniques, which Morita shares with designers in person.
Recently, Morita has begun producing his own items as a couturier. His "kimono gown" is a stunning kimono that can be worn casually over clothes. His hope is to make kimonos and Japanese culture more accessible abroad, expressed through the Western-style sewing used for comfort and mobility. The kimono gown took dozens of attempts to perfect, but Morita's tireless work and endless inspiration keeps the fresh ideas coming.
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2-33-7 Uehara Shibuya Tokyo 151-0064 Japan
The furoshiki is a simple piece of square cloth, beloved by the Japanese, dating back over one thousand years. It has the capability of transforming into any shape and size, and can wrap anything from square boxes to wine bottles and soccer balls. Learn more about this fascinating item and see how it can be incorporated into everyday life!
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Morimoto Building 1F, 7-2 Nihonbashi-Tomizawacho Chuo Tokyo 103-0006 Japan
2-31-8 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo 150-0001 Japan
Japanese Designers on the Italian Runway
Lots of kids love fashion today, but how many know how clothes are actually made?
Morita holds special workshops with local elementary school students to share the garment-making process with them.
His hope? That some of them might find they want to make clothes themselves…and maybe give the fashion world a try some day.
- Producer Yoyo
Marie is wearing a stunning "kimono gown" featured in the episode, and in her hand is a bag made from furoshiki – it's a simple square cloth that transforms into bags of all shapes and sizes, depending on your need or mood! The Japanese are so resourceful, without compromising beauty, of course.
The back of the kimono gown features a magnificent drawing of cranes and pine trees, hand-drawn with the traditional Yuzen dyeing technique. The incredible thing is that the drawing doesn't fade in the wash.
- English Advisor Yuki
In the program, we could only lightly touch on how to fold a furoshiki bag…so here's a slightly more in-depth description.
First, find a furoshiki or simple square cloth (a scarf works!), and lay it on the table inside out.
Take two corners that are side-by-side and tie a deep knot...
And do the same with the opposite two corners.
Take two of the tied ends.
And creating a bit of space inside, tie into a tight knot. This is the handle, so make sure there's enough room for your hand. Do the same with the other tied ends.
Grab hold of the handles, and poke around the inside of the bag with your hand to create room for your belongings. Voila!
- Director Hatao