We co-founded the business in the summer of 2013 after meeting at The University of Huddersfield. The idea of the business came during the last week of the final year of our degrees. The brand is heavily influenced by Japanese design and it was the ideology which surrounds the kimono which first set us on our own design journey. We loved the idea that it was seen as a second skin, individual to the wearer and an expression of their own personality and soul.
We moved to York and rented a house together, using the tiny spare room as our first studio (much to the joy of our landlord- let’s just say a few carpets needed replacing!). We began sampling & experimenting on silk with various Japanese Shibori techniques and silk screen printing to develop our own style.
A year later we moved in to our own studio space in York, allowing us to perfect the product. There are many stages to creating one of our products including cutting and treating the fabric, applying the dyeing/screen printing techniques, and adding the devore detail by stenciling, painting or sponging depending on the design (in many cases we use all three techniques on one product). And this is interspersed with drying periods, ironing, recutting and stitching.Much like an antique kimono, our scarves can be seen as a second skin and they are unquestionably personal to the possessor. Each one is unique to the wearer, as the client has an input in the design process, thereby creating something truly unrepeatable. We want to keep traditional dyeing and printing techniques alive as they are becoming more and more lost to computer aided design. At Meiji Designs, we love the hands on approach and getting our hands dirty. There is something extremely satisfying about saying we have created something by hand, without the aid of a computer, something which is becoming increasingly rare. Nothing we make can ever be replicated or mass produced.
We invest a lot of time and passion into each individual piece, but one of our most memorable commissions so far, has been for His Royal Highness The Duke of York, who we recently presented with a scarf and pocket square. The occasion happened very quickly, and it was at a time when we were in between studios. We had to be rather inventive and adaptable throughout the production process to say the least!