KIYOKAWACombining the skillful techniques of skilled craftsmen with a woman's point of view
With the catchphrase "bags that accompany people in their daily lives," Kiyokawa offers a universal collection that is loved by people of all ages.
Founded in 1960, Kiyokawa is a private brand of Kiyokawa Shoten, and Misaki Matsumura is the third generation in charge of the company. The history of Kiyokawa has been built up over three generations in Azumabashi, Sumida-ku, an emotional downtown area, with the founder being Ms. Matsumura's grandfather and the current head of the company being her father. Kiyokawa Shoten is a leather goods manufacturer that manufactures handbags and other formal bags on an OEM basis, with an emphasis on domestic production. While the OEM business continues today, 14 years ago the company launched Azzuni, a line of unisex casual bags, and about three years ago started Kiyokawa, which focuses on formal bags, a business in which the company's grandfather put a lot of effort. Like fashion, bags are becoming more casual these days. In such an era, why did he decide to focus again on formal bags? It has to do with the aging of craftsmen, which is a serious problem in the bag industry these days.
At Kiyokawa, veteran and young craftsmen engage in friendly competition, and the entire process is carefully handcrafted by a single artisan until completion. This is made possible by the fact that all of the craftsmen on staff are highly skilled enough to make samples. However, as is the case with other manufacturers, there used to be a serious shortage of craftsmen due to the aging of the workforce.
Incidentally, some of the company's old craftsmen, who have been with the company since its founder's generation, are still alive and well, and are in their 80s, which is quite old. The reason for the renewed focus on formal bags was also to pass on the skilled skills of the veterans, which can be considered an asset of Kiyokawa. Of course, the reverse is also true, with veterans learning from the young. The ideal relationship between craftsmen of different generations can be built because of the environment in which each can communicate closely with the other. This allows the company to maintain a high level of quality, which is not possible with mass production or the division of labor.
KIYOKAWA does not have any outstanding designers, nor does it have its own patents. However, the company has a team of highly skilled craftsmen who are dependable. This is the brand's strength, and at the same time, its charm.
Generally, the materials for a bag are selected after the design is decided, but Kiyokawa continues to make its products with the materials in mind. While the quality of the product does not change depending on the order, the company has a policy of not producing a product until it has found the ideal leather and metal fittings. The craftsmen's opinions are also reflected in the selection of materials used. In addition, samples are actually used and checked in detail to ensure that they are not fragile and that they are easy to use. If there is even a slight concern, it is corrected and the sample is used again, so it takes a considerable amount of time before completion.
In addition, the product incorporates ideas unique to Ms. Matsumura, who is also a mother, such as the use of a magnetic closure system so that it can be easily opened and closed with one hand. The reason for this uncompromising attention to detail is the importance she places on the process of designing and creating the product. Above all, the core of Kiyokawa's craftsmanship is to be able to accompany the user's daily life and to be used for a long time. The company is still waiting to find the ideal materials for its designs, and there are several bags that are still being checked for comfort. Along with bags carefully crafted over time, KIYOKAWA will continue to convey the excellence of Japan's proud craftsmanship.
Feminine and easy to use
Impressive rounded form
The ZITA series shoulder bag with its impressive drawstring design is both stylish looking and highly practical. The bag is made of high quality cowhide leather, which feels comfortable in the hand as if it were sucked into your hand when you hold it tightly, and its suppleness and soft texture can be felt visually. In order to maximize the texture, unnecessary stitches are omitted, and the rounded shape is created only by cutting with craftsman's skill.
The gold hardware and leather strap ties that enhance the sense of class stand out in the simple design and provide an exquisite accent to the styling. The shoulder strap is slender and feminine, so you can rely on it for everything from daily use to a short outing.
KIYOKAWA ZITA Shoulder bag
- Cowhide leather
- Price (tax included)
- 29,700 yen