BEAMS fennica to Release Gorgeous Collection in Collaboration With Ainu Crafts

06.October.2019 | FASHION

fennica is a fashion label associated with BEAMS that combines traditional Japanese handicraft with new and old designs collected from Northern Europe. The label has announced that it will collaborate with the Akan Tourism Association (法人阿寒観光協会まちづくり推進機構) non-profit organisation to release an all-new collection that incorporates traditional Ainu crafts.

Terry Ellisーthe London-based director of fennicaーand Keiko Kitamura observed Ainu culture in the Lake Akan area in Kushiro, Hokkaido, and have used the creative beauty of young craftsmen and craftswomen who are in charge of next-generation Ainu culture. Overtime they have worked together with the artisans to create an original collection entitled “Ainu Crafts from Lake Akan: Tradition and Innovation” which will be sold on the fifth floor of the Shinjuku branch of BEAMS Japan in the fennica studio and B Gallery from October 12.

The collection incorporates silver jewellery with Ainu patterns, wood-carved cutlery, hamper bags made with traditional materials, and many other lifestyle items familiar to Ainu culture. During the showcasing, there will be other exhibitions related to Ainu in the gallery, as well as talks, live performances, and more.

 

A special webpage went live on October 1 talking about this collaboration.

The collection’s director Terry Ellis commented: “When I was walking around Takiguchi’s store Ichigen No Mise, my attention focused on this cutlery. I felt the folklore in its simplicity. Though it’s an item to be used, the craftsmanship is incredible. You can’t just stop at one, you want to collect more and decorate with them.” *Translated from Japanese

 

Keiko Kitamura, also a director for the collection, commented: “Akan is a rare kind of place, with mountains, rivers, lakes and forests. It has its own shapes and colours because of the light, colours and sounds which change intensely with time and soak into your body. And Ainu art is distinct from the traditional craftsmanship of other countries and regions because in almost all categories you can still produce it even today. There are [Ainu] people who are still continuing to make art for their family to this day. Their still being here is something valuable.”

 

She continues: “Japan’s handiwork is in danger of vanishing across all areas of the country. Even if there are no successors, there are people who have been beside them watching, and people who were once involved in the past. So we may barely just make it. Because if this handiwork comes to a stop, it will be no more. We feel a sense of duty to protect this wonderful work.”

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    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It has the highest level of quality out of all the submissions. I chose this one for both that and how interesting it was to watch. It was so much fun watching the characters’ animation. I felt it was a work with a high level of completion and of satisfaction.”

    Runner-Up Prize – 700,000 Yen

    Title: Dramatic / Creator: 作田綾乃

    Story: A lone street musician singing in Shinjuku whose voice reaches somebody.

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “This wasn’t made by just one person, but the overall package is woven together incredibly skilfully. I personally feel this work surpasses all the rest. In terms of the visual quality, there’s a lot that could be cleaned up and there are many points still to be learned, but the drama is on point with music as the core focus. The development is solid throughout, and I admire how well put together everything us right to the end.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I have to give credit to them having created an animation centred around an original song at just 19 years-old. Amongst all the other many works which all used Shinjuku as the location, it feels like a realistic piece of drama which covers musicians visiting Tokyo. And even though it’s 5-minutes long, it by no means felt long; it was a seamless watch.”

    Runner-Up Prize – 300,000 Yen

    Title: tellphone / Creator: 亀井樹

    Story: Where’s my lost smartphone? “The ending of a story is a beginning.”

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “I was impressed by the amazing quality of the visuals, but the structure of the story lost me. We see the characters line up, and you think something interesting is about to unfold, but the older brother’s cheeks turn red and that’s the end. It was a weak conclusion. If they did away with the part in the middle and made the ending stronger, I think it would have been an incredible piece of work worthy of being higher up in the list.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I liked the concept of this one the most. The joke about finding a lost smartphone with location information was amusing. It was very relevant of the current times. But the disappointing part was when we meet the shopkeeper at the end, and then it just ends. I wanted to see what unfolded after we met them too. Since they went ahead and included something that can track something’s location, it would have been even more interesting if they’d tied in locations in Shinjuku and developed the story more.”

     

    Judges’ Overall Comments On The Competition

    Kobun Shizuno said:

    “I was so surprised at the level of quality in the submissions, as people had such a short amount of time to create their works when the submissions opened.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It was really refreshing and a lot of fun to get to see the works of such a young generation.”

     

    Kazutaka Yamanaka, producer at TOHO, praised the line-up of works as wonderful considering the short time they were given. He felt however that the dramatic elements of most works could have been enrichened had they added a little more references to Shinjuku in them, like including people of different races walking the streets, or the low-lying parts of Shinjuku.

     

    The winning submissions and worthy mentions can all be watched over on the official GEMSTONE YouTube channel here.

     

    © TOHO CO., LTD.

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