Wrap Yourself in the Next Level of Cotton T-THREE CO., LTD. IP
Website: T-THREE CO., LTD.
Category: Apparel & textiles
T-THREE’s unique dyeing techniques and luxurious cotton take Japanese fashion design to the next level
Handling textile design, sewing and pattern production in-house, T-THREE CO., LTD. has developed numerous brands across more than three decades of innovation. The company has been recognized for the high-quality colors produced by its unique spring water dyeing process, while its extra-long staple fiber cotton creates garments that are a dream to touch.
T-THREE President Toshitsugu Watanabe spent several years working with legendary designer Kansai Yamamoto—best known for giving David Bowie some of his most iconic Ziggy Stardust looks—before returning to his hometown of Sapporo and launching his own company in 1985.
T-THREE’s trademarked brands include Kamishima Chinami (and Kamishima Chinami Yellow), ayumi.mitsukane, Zootee and Yoriori. Kamishima Chinami is sold in approximately 20 countries, including much of Europe and North America, with subdued earth tones influenced by Hokkaido’s rugged natural landscape. The Zootee label, meanwhile, illustrates the company’s playful side with tees featuring full-color jet-print animal designs and whimsical accompanying stories.
Next-level Cotton, Next-level Fashion
Yoriori is the company’s newest brand, having been trademarked in 2015 and launched in 2016. The line’s 100-percent-cotton garments are made using high-quality, extra-long staple fibers, giving them enhanced softness and durability. “We use threads and weaves that can only be made in Japan, with colors that can only be dyed in Japan,” Watanabe explains, referring to his spring water dyeing technique. While the process is time-consuming, Watanabe says the brand was created specifically to showcase Japan’s unique textile technology.
The difference is tangible, yielding durable, lightweight garments that are extremely soft to the touch. Watanabe further points out that Yoriori garments are entirely biodegradable, down to the natural cotton thread in the stitching, and even the buttons are crafted from natural materials like shells.
The Freedom to Have Fun
Watanabe is eager to see Japan’s techniques inspire designers abroad. “Fashion is a battle between designers,” he says. “I hope that in the next 10 years we could employ people from different countries at our Hokkaido base and empower them to take these designs back to their home countries.” He is similarly interested in introducing Yoriori techniques to other international companies through royalty and licensing agreements.
Watanabe wants his designs carried in the same select shops that carry Europe’s top designers and fashion houses. Within the next 10 years, he also aims to be firmly established as a women’s luxury brand in the ASEAN region, with the goal of having 50 percent of sales coming from overseas.
His heart remains in northern Japan, however. While the company maintains a direct sales shop in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, Watanabe credits his Sapporo head office, which also serves as a factory, with providing a pressure-free environment that offers the freedom for employees to follow their own inspirations. “I think our biggest strength is that we have a sense of fun when we create our designs,” he says.
Website: T-THREE CO., LTD.
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.