The City Bakery, Kurume Kasuri and Fukuoka Now have collaborated to create an original Kurume Kasuri pattern bag.
Since opening in Tenjin in 2015, the City Bakery has become a popular place where international people go to relax. The tote bag made from Kurume Kasuri textiles is the first product to come out of the bakery’s collaboration with the local community, its first in Japan. As a tribute to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, happi coats (the official clothing of the float carriers) made from Kurume Kasuri will also be available in limited quantities starting on July 1 when the festival begins.
Kurume Kasuri is a traditional textile from the Chikugo region of Fukuoka that has been handed down for over 220 years. Kurume Kasuri, which requires 30 to 40 complicated processes to make, is produced in a wide range of styles, including hand-woven kasuri produced by artisans who have undergone a strict screening and have received certification for their skills, and affordable, machine-woven Kurume Kasuri that come in a wide variety of colors because they use dye other than natural indigo, even though the processes are almost identical. In recent years, Kurume Kasuri has been attracting attention from creators as a handicraft unique to the region.
>> Fukuoka Now: Kurume Kasuri Guide 2021
The City Bakery
Founder Maury Rubin, who previously worked as a TV producer, opened the first City Bakery in New York City in 1990. There are two stores in Fukuoka, one in Tenjin Solaria Plaza and one in Heiwa.
The City Bakery Original Kurume Kasuri Bag
The original bag was produced by Tomihisa Orimono, a Kurume Kasuri workshop that has been in business for four generations. Tomihisa Orimono is a textile weaver that produces both hand-woven and machine-woven fabrics, a combination that is rare for the area, and it is a member of the Important Intangible Cultural Property Kurume Kasuri Technology Holders Association. The pattern and the size of the bag were adjusted to make sure no fabric went to waste in the production process.
The impetus for this project came when the editors of Fukuoka Now realized that the City Bakery’s logo image would be well suited to a Kurume Kasuri pattern. Although the bakery originated in New York, its logo is reminiscent of the pattern used on the happi coats worn during the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, and with this product, the bakery’s world view has been expressed in the form of traditional Kurume Kasuri.