Encyclopedia of niime

niime History chapter 2


2019 . 01 . 15

Her unique creative process working in Banshu-ori style has become very popular. Now that it is a well-known concept due to tamaki niime’s originality, we seek to understand her strategies and processes in trying to launch her name brand, as well as her thoughts.
Her upfront attitude in displaying her laboratory gained the trust of her customers, yet, at the same time, she risks an outflow of know-how. Why is Tamaki so determined to be so forward in being as open as possible in revealing the inner workings of her world?
In the second chapter of “niime history”, we delve deeper into her base philosophy into creation, originality and other deep musings.

After delving into Banshu-ori, we decided to proceed with our business.

When I began the concept of this business, I tried to understand what kind of history Banshu-ori has had, what past they have carried until now, and where it would go. After following all the facts, I decided to start this business, because I knew that if I started, and then found it wasn’t for me, it would be too late. That’s why I delved into it so much just to know a little information, even the unimportant facts. I read books to recheck it all, to persuade myself. I think this process is crucial for my staff, as well. I required them to know what Banshu-ori is, what ‘tamaki niime’ is, and what kind of history it has. I believed they should possess substantial knowledge about us, not just with feelings. If they find out they don’t like what we are, it’s better to know early on. When they explain it, if they can stand on a clear position to understand ‘tamaki niime’ and its history, then the customers understand the value and appreciate it more, compared to the staff feeling uncertain, unclear or drowning in irrelevant facts. I would like them to know what has driven me to start this business and how we made it to this point. I would rather them to know our history at times in an easily understood fashion so that they can readily understand.

We would like to create something unique that no one can replicate.

I think our creative system is very complicated, compared with other brands. We make the ‘only one creation’. They look like seasonable products, but they are actually not, and the styles aren’t that different. Let me tell you why we have chosen this way. The reason goes back 12 years when our name was not so well known. There were unknown creators, like us, that put their products in their exhibition, and they were so happy to get orders from a major company. They got orders next few seasons. After that, however, we found out there were no orders for them. We wondered why and heard that their technique and know-how had been stolen, and their products were sold as the dominant company’s original items. The creators were cut out because their role was complete. It was like “We can do it without you!” In apparel companies, stealing designs happens quite easily. Faced with that reality, we have come to determine that we must make the things nobody can copy, and creations have to have originality.

We cannot survive without doing something that major companies cannot do.

Major companies have vast amounts of funding to do anything, but as a small company, we cannot survive unless we do something that major companies cannot do. I don’t know how to say…well…there is a big wall facing us. We must have our uniqueness which differentiates us from major companies’; otherwise, we will be destroyed by them. As I think back then, I was more determined that we must make the things nobody can plagiarize.

I dared to take up a time-consuming and troublesome process.

With that said, you could claim that we have been creating our products in a manner that for those who are used to using more simplistic processes, is somewhat bothersome.
For example, we stop the weaving machine after working 10 meters, change thread and start weaving again. Of course, we are sure that the items are truly attractive to consumers, and we know that nobody can do it. However, if other companies can do it, it wouldn’t work for us. We have dared to go forward in this way. Our idea is like this, “Go ahead! If you

want to copy our style, but it is so very annoying.” I am satisfied with this complicated and contradictory way, which looks possible to copy, but it is incredibly vexing to do.

We are aiming high in showing our creation through glass windows.

We worried about being copied by displaying our laboratory in open tours and making our company accessible by showing it through glass walls. But I could aim high for my creations by doing so. Instead of having fear, I should stand firm to allow people to go ahead to try to plagiarize if they want to. It is all right to copy them which we have just made because we can make another one tomorrow. I should just aim for the next one and then another. If someone bought our product at a store and copied it, I can’t complain because he or she bought it. If I complain about why they copy, I am not graceful. It would be best if you were ready for being copied. Nobody can copy me when I’m ready for their offence. It is not easy because creating ideas isn’t unlimited without effort. I have to kick myself behinds to push forward.
You could say it is impossible if I have to keep thinking of good ideas by myself. However, our staff tries to make it work, and with all our talents, it would be possible to make it endlessly.

Original Japanese text by Seiji Koshikawa.
English translation by Adam & Michiko Whipple.