Monday, June 30, 2008

KATO A/W 2008

It's finally time to present Kato's collection for this fall and winter season. Unlike with other brands and designers, trends like cropped pants with contrasting socks, black ("is the new black"), no rock band influences are not present here.

Image from

There's simply no black and therefore nothing to contrast your socks with, and that's why Kato is casual and why I like Kato.

I believe the biggest influence on Kato is Hiroshi Kato, which is why Kato looks like Kato and nothing else. This collection is similar to earlier ones but some patterns have been tweaked and new fabrics have been intruduced as well as a few new cuts for the bottoms.

The fabric of the above two shirts is woven on a 32" narrow loom and is made from a mix of Zimbabwe cotton and Egyptian ramie, which is known for its ability to hold shape and give a lustre to the finished fabric.
The blue color is based on natural indigo and while the yellow is a synthetic Monoazo dye.
Almost all KATO shirts have a single-piece color, as seen above.

These two shirts are based on a 1920's Japanese office/work shop pullover shirt. They have a cut-away collar and are made from a cotton/linen mix. Untreated linen threads are spun together with double harvest, potfermented indigo-dyed cotton threads to create the thread that the fabric is finally woven with.
The white stripes and collar are untreated made from only the undyed, natural threads.

A longer version of the jacket in the KATO AW07 collection is available for this season. It is based on a riding coat and just like the shorter version, the finish is done using a log dye and an air brush.
The log dye is made from the inner bark of a (to me unknown type of) tree, which is then put in a pot which in turn is burried in the ground and left there for 6-12 months so as to let the bark ferment.
The acquired liquid is then mixed with oil and applied to the garment with an airbrush.

The cloth used for the coat is a heavy cotton and the collar is a corduroy with color from plum husks.

Most of the detailing is done by hand as is much of the finer seams, and you should also notice the triple stitching that is done on all types of garments and always in the same direction as the weave of the cloth, to let it stretch freely.
I will not point out these things again as it would get boring quite quickly, but I just want you to know that with Kato you can expect natural dyes, hand-finished detailing and good sewing.
Remember to study the garments by yourself, that is the most important thing, and make your own opinion!

The same model is also available in boiled wool, shown below.

This greenish color is actually achieved by mixing different color wool, please have a look at the crappy close-ups!

There is also a variation of this coat, with a few different details, like slanted pockets. This jacket is also blanket-lined, much like old Wrangler denim jackets.
The lining is in fact made from a mixture of cotton, recycled wool and boiled wool.

This is a coat in waxed cotton, but the waxing process is a little different here. First, the cotton used for the weft is treated with a mixture of spring water and spirits, after which it is spun and then wax is applied to the threads.
Next, the cloth is woven with these threads together with untreated Zimbabwe cotton threads for the warp.
This is supposed to give the fabric the same characteristics as that in a Barbour coat but with a softer feel and no smell or stickiness. It also means you don't have to treat it carefully, re-wax it nor use special washing techniques.

Also available in a grey boiled wool.

This short jacket is based on a 1920's open cockpit inner jacket. The fabric is recreated by using a 1910's drop-loom and Zimbabwe cotton mixed with recycled cotton. This loom gives a very tight weave but the cloth remains flexible. The lining is cotton/recycled wool mix.

The dye of the outer cloth is made from green bark and it is once again finished with the same log dye technique.

Two nice blue jackets:

And a great vest..

.. that I know nothing about! Come on Neil, tell me about them! Are they indigo-dyed?

1920-1940's chino pant. Cross-loomed fabric made from Zimbabwe cotton.
Available in one-wash and in an engineered finish.

A traditional fishing pant, available in white, blue and khaki.

1930's construction worker pant. Heavy cotton fabric, once again with the log dye engineered finish.

(two different colors)

Also available in a double harvest indigo denim;

The distressing on the denim is actually done by hand using a bamboo ball!

What I've shown here is the selection available outside of Japan. You'll be able to get it in-store at SOLO and from 111vox's online store and

Discuss the collection at ringxring!