Living this constant state of too much,too fast and never not enough, standing amongst a sea of new product, I’m always overwhelmed by shopping these days. More and more, I feel this emptiness about putting my money towards more ‘stuff’, meaningless ‘stuff’ that ends up sitting at the back of my wardrobe, or in the charity bin after a month. The fact of the matter is, today we can get whatever we want, whenever we want, just by the click of a button. It’s left me sadly unexcited by things that used to get me on the edge of my seat. I think now more than ever before, people like us seek out the true and beautiful stories behind WELL MADE product. So today friends, I want to take you on the spiritual experience that I had with Toki Sen-I knit fabric.
I still remember the first time I saw and touched Toki Sen-I knit fabrics at a W’menswear fabric meeting with Lauren in Tokyo. I don’t know how many “WOW” moments I had in the 30 minute shindig, but let’s say an average of five a minute? Yes, I can say that they are the best knit fabrics that I’ve ever seen as a young designer out of fashion school in Paris. Although I’m not long out of school, I can say that I’ve been around the block, working for various fashion houses and startups globally. These fabrics pretty much blew my mind and we spent the whole meeting nerding out on their beauty.
Not far from Osaka, in the Kansai province of Japan, is where this superior Japanese knitted cotton is woven into the best knit fabric in the world. The Toki-Sen-i mill is definitely not your run-of-the-mill knit fabric manufacturer. This small company brings new meaning to ‘attention to detail’ and an incredible foresight that has them designing new fabrics with the vision of what they will become after years of wearing.
Their mill houses about 250 “Tsuri” knitting machines that work in a ticking motion oh so slowly. This slower production method on old fashioned machines, deliver a high quality stitch with character, particularly soft, supple and comfortable. Something that no modern day knitting method can come close to, as today we are producing more and more en-mass, individuality and character does not stand up in a production line – and we are losing these beautifully unpredictable qualities in our garments (the good unpredictable). At the Toki-Sen-I mill, over a hundred years of development, experience and traditional values have contributed to the one-of-a-kind quality that they romantically bubble up in their dreamy fabric cauldron. For my fellow nerds out there, double-face, comfortable, easy-care, naturally stretch, organic and recycled, are just some characteristics that the Toki Sen-I mill focus on with their traditional practices.
You can see that the Ponytail Journal philosophy is not to follow short lived fad, trends with expiration dates, but we take pride in carving out our own path… A path that is paved by beauty that has existed decades, even centuries before us.
Hold your horses, let me take you to the menswear A/W17 shows in Paris, where I was thrilled to see that Dries Van Noten had brought out a collection that caught my attention. The collection playfully called “Wearing your textile knowledge on your sleeve”, brought the world’s greatest textile and yarn manufacturers centre stage, as their branding was slapped all over the collection. In our Tokyo meeting with Toki-Sen-I, the team laughingly admitted that they had no idea Dries Van Noten were going to use their logo as prints on the new line (whoops) but never-the-less they were fine with the idea. So this poses a good question to us all, ‘did fashion and function marry together as one on the catwalks of Paris earlier this year?’ Either way, I was happy see a fashion brand pay attention to these superior fabrics. The world is still good.
So let this be my invitation to you to take a good look at the new W’menswear tees, you’ll find our classic pocket tees made in a lighter Toki Sen-I knit fabric that still holds a meaty touch for our kinda gals. Yes,we always want to take you with us to live a slower state of life where we can produce things thoughtfully, and with great attention to the fine details that make the Universe so freaking wonderful.
This article was written by Sonyi Yan / Illustrated and Shot by Lauren Yates.