The concept is “MADE IN FUKUOKA”.IPPUDO’s very first ramen shop uniform redesigned
In December 2015, the uniform of the Daimyo Head Office which was IPPUDO’s very first ramen shop was redesigned. Although I say “redesigned”, this doesn’t mean that it was only the design itself that underwent a makeover. IPPUDO has its roots in Fukuoka, and so the idea behind redesigning the uniform was to work in collaboration with the local community taking the concept of “MADE IN FUKUOKA” as a way of showing respect and gratitude to Fukuoka, and to provide a veritable stage to present the amazing talent found in Fukuoka who devote themselves to the art of making things. Let’s now go behind the scenes to look at this new uniform where tradition and innovation coexist.
WORDS BY SHOTA KATO (OVER THE MOUNTAIN)
A platform to presentFukuoka’s local talent
Hello! My name is Shota Kato and I am the writer of this newsletter. Everyone has one or two opportunities where the world is their stage and they get the chance to shine. Maybe I’ll talk about my own such stage in the future, but for now let’s start with IPPUDO’s stage.
In 1985, IPPUDO raised the curtain on its stage to express “arigato” （Thank you） to each and every customer through steaming bowls of ramen in Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka city. Now 30 years later, IPPUDO has grown so that approximately 50,000 customers around the world come to eat at an IPPUDO ramen shop every day, and so IPPUDO thought to give a little something back to their humble origins, Fukuoka, by unveiling a stage for the local talent to present their diverse and extraordinary skills. This took shape in the form of the IPPUDO uniform. The fabric used for the uniform was kurume kasuri, a specially woven fabric, the pride of Fukuoka and designated an important intangible cultural heritage. The design was the inspiration of college students aspiring to work in the fashion industry with the world’s best local craftsmen and craftswomen doing the sewing. The uniform itself was to be worn by staff who grew up in the area. Together this gave birth to a creators’ collaboration in Fukuoka, the home of IPPUDO.
The start of this collaboration was in May 2015. A contest was held to design a new uniform for IPPUDO’s Daimyo Head Office for the students of the Fashion Department of the Omura Beauty & Fashion Vocational College, based in Fukuoka city of Fukuoka prefecture, as part of their college course. Orientation started with lectures on the more than 200-year-old history and rich colors and patterns of kurume kasuri, a specially woven fabric designated an important intangible cultural heritage, and a thorough explanation was given of IPPUDO’s philosophy and characteristics. The contestants interviewed the part-time staff of the Daimyo Head Office, who were about the same age as themselves, about the kind of design and features that they thought the uniform should have. Each of the students studied IPPUDO and conducted research on the type of uniforms currently being used in other restaurants, and worked on their designs with the help of their teachers submitting a total of over 170 design proposals.
The Project Secretariat of IPPUDO’s operating company, Chikara no moto （lit. “The Source of Power”） Company and all of the staff, including the part-time staff, at IPPUDO’s Daimyo Head Office voted on their choice of design. Finally, the design which was chosen was that of Momoko Fukunaga, a freshman in the Fashion Department. At the time, Ms. Fukunaga was at the young and tender age of 19.
A uniform spinning a new futurewhere tradition and innovation coexist
The day after the project kick-off meeting held at the end of August, Ms. Fukunaga was able to visit Nomura Orimono, which was founded 117 years ago. After observing the manufacturing process entailing fabric handwoven by skilled craftsmen and craftswomen, Ms. Fukunaga managed to narrow down the more than 100 kurume kasuri patterns to one traditional type of fabric and one innovative type.
Taking inspiration from the dedication lovingly rendered by hand into both this traditional craft and ramen respectively through the kurume kasuri and IPPUDO, Ms. Fukunaga was able to reinvent the concept of Japanese clothes making, and with the support of Sitateru Co., Ltd., which was selected as one of AERA’S “100 Business Ventures Most Likely to Power Japan”, the design underwent a further evolution. And then next the IPPUDO staff tried on the uniform samples put together by an apparel manufacturer based in Kurume city known for working on famous overseas brands. After getting feedback on the uniform’s fit and stitch strength, the uniform was unveiled and has been proudly worn at the Daimyo Head Office since December. Ms. Fukunaga talked about her inspiration when producing the uniform.
I had in mind the image of a hat and suit derived from IPPUDO’s “masculine coolness”, and I wanted to create a color scheme which matched the dignified and lustrous woody interior of the Head Office, a fashionable shape for the hat and collar, and work clothes which allowed for easy movement. My goal was to go for a contemporary design which would look good on both men and women and would also leave a lasting impression, and so I am delighted that the staff who are about the same age as myself chose my design. 」
The IPPUDO Daimyo Head Office uniform was redesigned to mark their milestone of 30 years. The story behind this uniform is the passion shown by this venerable brand specializing in traditional craft, the pride of Fukuoka, and by Fukuoka’s talented student designers who came together to make this “MADE IN FUKUOKA” such a success. This uniform where tradition and innovation coexist is sure to spin a new future for this stage of the IPPUDO Daimyo Head Office.
Born in September 1996 in Makurazaki city of Kagoshima prefecture. Freshman in the Design Pattern Basic Course of the Fashion Department of Omura Beauty & Fashion Vocational College. Ms. Fukunaga likes to listen to relatively up-tempo music by Miley Cyrus and 2NE1 while thinking up designs. A huge influence has been the quirky ideas and vibrant colors of Moschino’s creative designer, Jeremy Scott.
WORDS BY SHOTA KATO
加藤将太 / OVER THE MOUNTAIN
About the editor. Born in 1981. From Fuefuki city in Yamanashi Prefecture (formerly Kasugai-cho of the Higashi Yamanashi district). Planned, wrote and edited texts in print and online form as well as acting as MC for various events and programs. Helped launch the online magazine CONTRAST in March 2011, and since July 2013, has been based in Shoinjinja shopping district in Setagaya. Created the trade name “OVER THE MOUNTAIN” in October 2014 to represent its business. The idea being that “people will keep on climbing over mountains” both today and tomorrow.