"The collaboration between Sawaya and Maison Jean Rousseau reflects our sincere desire to take care of materials"

by Jyubei Sawaya, obi weaver at Sawaya

Founded in Kyoto in 1776, the Sawaya house has distinguished itself in the art of hand weaving. For nearly 250 years, this house has notably been manufacturing obis (belts) of exceptional quality. Jyubei Sawaya embodies the 8th generation of Kimono Masters in the family. Sharing a respect for craftsmanship and meticulous attention to materials, he teamed up with Jean Rousseau to create a collection combining rare fabrics and precious leathers: the “Tsuyayaka” collection.

1. How did this collaboration between Sawaya and Maison Jean Rousseau come about?

At Sawaya, we wanted to create new products from the fabric of an obi, including watch straps. It was a client who recommended Jean Rousseau to us and when we met, we recognized ourselves in the workshop atmosphere that reigned at Jean Rousseau. Our artisans quickly got along and understood each other.

We used scraps of fabric intended for obis to create leather pieces. It is always a lot of fun to find the perfect leather for our fabrics among the huge variety of skins offered by Jean Rousseau. It is then the wonderful hands of the craftsmen of Jean Rousseau who proceeded to the finishes.

2. What values do Sawaya and Jean Rousseau share?

Like Maison Jean Rousseau, we have inherited a particular philosophy linked to the spirit of manufacture. The efforts, the techniques, the aesthetics of the craftsmen who preceded us remind us that some things can only be done by human hands. Jean Rousseau is involved in the manufacture of these creations with care and delicacy. This collaboration of different materials and which transcends geographical limits in the service of the same goal is important. It inspires us.

Nowadays, it only takes one object to break and another can be acquired. On the contrary, this collaboration reflects our common and sincere desire to take care of the materials. Our attention is fully focused on softness, radiance, comfort. We take care of the little things while respecting the craftsmanship that arouses attachment and makes us want to use our objects for a long time.

“Ancient Nishiki” is an obi woven using a 150-year-old technique called the “pull sheet”. It is a hand-woven obi made of 4,800 threads. The weaving is carried out by craftsmen who work on a loom whose structure is identical to that of the French Jacquard loom. But this weaving represents even more because what is created over the years, the know-how and the technology, is imbued with the wisdom of the craftsmen and their feelings. Feelings linked to the passing of time but also more modern, light feelings. Here, the new collection “Tsuyayaka” expresses “beauty in use”.

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