Simple elegance, strength and versatility with selvedge. MARUYOSHI CO., LTD.

Category: Japanese Apparel & Textiles

A meteoric rise


selvedge. Chief Designer Riyo Midojima

Riyo Midojima created what is now selvedge. 10 years ago when she rose from a craftsperson of sample items to become chief designer for her own line of women’s bags. She’d begun her career studying design in Japan, but it was while living in the UK for 2 years that Midojima was inspired by vintage leather bags.

She returned to Japan and worked in the sample studio of the company Maruyoshi Bags, a firm with 50 years of history producing men’s and women’s bags of all kinds, from casual and sport to schoolbags. Midojima had worked at all stages of production from design to manufacture when she decided to focus on creating elegant handbags for female professionals. The selvedge. label, which is the most successful bag brand at Maruyoshi, was born.

Pride in production


A craftsperson in the process of dyeing a selvedge. bag

Midojima’s target is to reduce stress in the lives of stylish and independent working women. selvedge. handbags are elegant, light and soft. Double-stitched handles make them sturdy-more than a match for a tough work day. Most women have felt the biting of a bag’s handles into their shoulder; Midojima concentrated on refining the shape and edges of handles, ensuring selvedge. bags are comfortable to carry and use.

The designer is also intent on working with quality Japanese materials. She uses leather from the city of Himeji and brass buckle fittings from Tochigi Prefecture, while fabrics are made in the Kansai area, among other regions. Production, too, is entirely domestic. Though it might be cheaper and faster to make bags overseas, selvedge.’s pride in excellence and detail means all bags are made in Japan.

Quality over quantity


The rucksack in leather or wool is the hottest selling item overseas

selvedge. bags are sold in select boutiques around Japan and overseas, including the US, the UK, South Korea, Italy, Turkey and Germany. European ladies love the bags, especially the Italians who are known for their appreciation of fine leather goods. Overseas shoppers’ favorite product is the designer’s favorite too. The practical and stylish leather rucksack can be converted into a tote. It also comes in wool-in several patterns-and a men’s version is available as well.


The Ohno tote bag is an all-season carryall for everyday use

selvedge. bags are made to be used for a long time. Buyers are offered a repair service to clean up and fix their products so they can continue to use them for years to come. Midojima isn’t interested in mass-producing bags that will last for one or two seasons. She’s set on creating a loyal customer base that keeps on coming back-and it looks like she has it in the bag.


(Courtesy: JETRO)

JETRO, or the Japan External Trade Organization, is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO’s core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

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