Dye it yourself
You can book a dyeing experience at the studio, where the staff will take you through the step-by-step process of colouring your very own item. The first step is choosing your own ‘textile effect’ that will create the pattern of your item. Methods like shibori (tie-dye) are popular, as are using chopsticks held together with elastics and stencil dying, where you can get really creative with your design or pattern.
Next, you’ll be able to get up close with the beautiful vats of indigo dye. The more times you dip your cloth, the deeper the blue will be. Each dip is about three to five minutes long, and you’ll need to manually move the cloth around in the dye for even coverage. The breaks between dye dips is where you’ll see the real magic happen. Fresh indigo on fabric looks a murky green colour, however once the indigo oxidises in the air, you’ll see it miraculously turn blue.
After a few rounds, your fabric is thoroughly washed and then dried to show the final effects. Who’d have thought getting the blues could cause such joy?
The Murata family that runs the company has been in the textile business for over a century, but two of the Murata brothers decided to open Kosoen Studio in 1989 to continue the craft of natural indigo dyeing, colouring everything from garments to interior decor. The studio offers a dyeing experience for those interested in trying out aizome (from ¥1,600), as well as an adjoining store selling clothing and accessories that the Muratas have designed and dyed themselves.