5-12-2 Minami Aoyama / Minato-ku / S: Omotesando / +81 3 3407 4466
To say that Tadashi Morita is a star of the Japanese fabric world would be something of an understatement, he is in fact nothing short of an international fashion industry icon, with foreign designers from all over the globe treading a well-shod path to his door to seek inspiration and ideas for their own work.
Since 1970, when he opened his eponymous shop Morita in fashion-central Aoyama, he has quietly and carefully researched, collected and collated what is possibly Tokyo’s, and even Japan’s, most extensive textile collection, ranging from tiny homespun, handcrafted fragments, to rare, full theatrical costumes, furoshiki wrapping cloths, and most famously, his astonishingly beautiful treasury of exquisite antique and vintage kimonos.
While the full private collection is kept in a warehouse, the store is like stepping into a little museum, the difference being that all the pieces are for sale – and what jewels they are.
Wool fabrics from ex-battle surcoats or jinbaori; cotton, silk and linen pieces from kimonos dating from the Edo, Meiji and Taisho periods; primitive beaten fibres like hemp genshi-fu and shizen-fu; as well as antique textiles from all over South East Asia including Indonesia, India, Nepal, Philippines, Tibet and China.
Five to six times a year Morita holds extra hagire-ichi or fragment sales, but the shop is always well-stocked and especially popular with Japanese patrons seeking fabric to make shifuku bags for tea ceremony utensils. Can’t get to Tokyo? Don’t worry, you can buy Morita’s book ‘Memory in Cloth’ at Amazon.com.