|Showa's Tetsuro Takasugi at his company's Tokyo headquarters.|
The first stop was Showa, a larger mill that has the distinction of having developed the world's only indigo-dyed wool denim, along with the lovely two-tone organic cotton twills I've used for my SS11 Save Japan tee; the circle dress and bias tank in my FW10 collection; and the FW11 trapeze dress. Some of the fabrics have a rougher, more typically "natural" feel I personally eschew in favor of the crisper, cleaner-looking denims and twills, and they also work wonders with natural dyes.
|Part of a wall of organic cotton fabrics at Avanti's Tokyo showroom.|
My second stop, Avanti, was organic cotton heaven. When I visit a typical fabric showroom, the agent often has only three or four organic fabrics to show me out of the hundreds of fabrics on display; not so here. The tidy, all-white showroom, which doubles as their head office, displayed shelves and shelves of gorgeous Japan-made jerseys and wovens, most of them undyed and every single one of them organic cotton.
With its dedication to Japanese quality, the company has also created a cotton farming venture in Japan; it remains to be seen how successful that will be. But having searched the world over for proof that organic cotton fabrics could be just as soft, Avanti felt like a mecca. The fantastic double-face plaid I used for my FW11 slash back top and funnel skirt was theirs, as are several of my upcoming SS12 fabrics, which I prefer not to reveal just yet!