Picture fabrics so detailed they look printed, adorned with eye-popping three-dimensional embroidery.
This is the result of cutting-edge weaving technology from Arles, a fabric manufacturer providing curtains and bedspreads to high-class hotels.
Their goal was to create a product of quality comparable to European fabrics. That devotion led them to leap across the oceans to Europe; a land with a very unique culture and history.
Picture a table runner crafted from “lived experience”.
The lively peduncles and multicolored leaves were hand-crafted, and are a testament to the craftsmen’s flair, taste, and experience.
How would our lifestyles change after experiencing such luxury for ourselves?
Arles primarily handles interior fabrics such as curtains, bedspreads, and table runners. Owner Akihisa Hayakawa tells us that, compared to clothing, interior fabrics intentionally show “weaving techniques of utmost durability.” These techniques are remnants from the time of sliding paper doors and tatami mats of old Japan, and the culture of European aristocrats of yore.
Though swamped with orders from high-class hotels across Japan, Arles owes that success to its peerless techniques. Their “Multicolor High Density” technique weaves multiple colors into both the warp and weft threads and their “Randome” technique gives the weave a sense of three-dimensionality, placing Arles a cut above the rest. But the road to mastering these techniques was long.
It began in the 80s when Mr. Hayakawa received a shock while in Germany. Though he was originally working on bedding, he was invited to an exhibition by his client, who remarked that they would be switching to interior fabrics thereafter. He attended hoping to gain inspiration to create something new during a time when Western-style houses and furniture were in style, and Japanese cultural sensibilities were declining.
Upon seeing the work of famous European manufacturers, Mr. Hayakawa was shocked. He looked closely at the high-quality weave and wondered how in the world they’d done it. Its use of eight colors in the warp thread and six in the weft thread was especially astonishing, as it achieved a three-dimensional effect in the fabric. It was unlike any he’d ever seen. He then bought as many samples as he could, and set about reproducing the style after returning to Japan. But he couldn’t do it - the difference in techniques was plain to see.
Mr. Hayakawa’s research began soon after. He experimented, armed only with his desire to make “something good,” because “if Europe could do it, why not Japan?”
Step one was finding a designer who would determine what sort of thread worked best and create a blueprint based on that information. Mr. Hayakawa roamed through Gifu, Kyoto, and other textile-producing cities, until he found a craftsman in Kiryu. He’d requested the same pattern from other such craftsmen before, but the quality was in a different class - he was confident he’d found the man for the job. Presently, over 90% of Arles’s stock is created by this same designer, and Mr. Hayakawa attests that his textiles wouldn’t be perfect without his skill at determining how to twine threads to create that delicate three-dimensionality. The pair cooperated, combining threads of multiple colors, thicknesses, and materials for their fabrics, and so Arles was born.
Mr. Hayakawa himself has traveled to Europe countless times and stayed at various hotels. That experience - that “lived experience”- is what fostered that sense for combinations so unique to interior fabrics. He studied them repeatedly, raising Arles’s pedigree. Approximately 40 years have passed since that first shock, and nowadays Arles boasts craftsmanship that rivals Europe’s best. What’s more, their inquisitiveness is infinite as they research the creation of unique types of threads, among other things.
Picture a brilliant, gorgeous table runner finding a home in yours - the result of real experience at the lap of luxury and meticulous research. You only need one item of such quality to live the “five-star hotel” life in your own home.