Tohoku London's goal is to introduce items of northern Japanese cultural heritage to the rest of the world in a creative way, to benefit people struggling to keep traditional industries alive after the devastation of 2011. Tohoku London designs products in London, manufactures them using northern Japanese materials, and aims to sell them around the world. The first collection features aizu momen, which is a traditional cotton kimono fabric from the Aizu area of northern Japan. Aizu momen has been used in Kimono tailoring for more than 300 years – it is stronger than normal cotton fabric and, much like Scottish tartan, it comes in hundreds of local variations on a traditional stripe pattern. The traditional aizu momen is turned into stylish handcrafted products, such as business card cases, mobile phone cases, bow ties, hair scrunchies and corsages.
The project was founded by Tomomi Sayuda in June 2011. Tomomi made research trips to northern Japan, visiting the workshops of around 20 northern Japanese craftsmen –meeting the local people and listening to their stories. The pieces in this first collection were designed by Tomomi Sayuda, Chika Nagai, Ryoko Mutasono and Sanae Kido.