TOKYO - As the end-of-summer rains set in, TBWA Hakuhodo has issued a video detailing how it developed a line of yukata (summer kimono) based on water droplets for Takashimaya department store.
Entitled 'Kimono wearing the rain' in English, the project launched at the start of the summer and was designed to celebrate the wide variety of rain types in Japan—something that is central to a good deal of art and literature.
Japanese has hundreds of words to describe the rain, but Takashimaya’s initiative focused on three: kirisame, fine, fog-like rain; murasame, or rain that falls in clusters; and heavy shards of rain, shinotsukuame.
Stylised interpretations of these rain types were created and carved into acrylic boards using lasers. Individual water droplets were applied to the designs, which were then photographed and transferred to the kimono fabric.
Takashimaya approached Yuki Tokuno, TBWA Hakuhodo’s art director, directly for the project. In a statement, Tokuno said the aim was to use technology to capture natural images usually too fleeting to grasp and “bring the delicate sensibilities of ancient Japanese culture back to life”.
Campaign’s view: It’s a beautiful concept for a product and unusual in that an advertising agency created it. TBWA Hakuhodo seems keen to make a name for itself in the product design field: it is also the company behind Quiksilver's 'True Wetsuits' and Suntory's '3D on the rocks', and this is a further reminder that agencies can play a role beyond designing ‘communications’.
While the effect for Takashimaya as a brand is unlikely to be huge, it’s worth noting that work emphasising Japanese craft and traditional culture tends to be popular with international awards juries.