Mr. Harada is an enku craftsman who continues his pursuit of new crafts and techniques of dyeing and manufacturing through his undying curiosity. His unique dye combinations and technique are a result of many hours of careful research and trial and error. The resulting enku indigo and plant dyed leather is distinctly high quality. We were immediately drawn to this leather and sought out a partnership with enku.
Our indigo leather began with our ambition “to create a leather unique to Japan.
We traveled around Japan in search of the perfect leather and indigo for us. We met with experts in the field. And finally, we were able to find the right pairings and to create beautiful indigo leather.
We will continue our research of indigo dyeing on different types of leather in hopes of delivering new forms of indigo leather.
Origin of enku
Just as the sky gives us a world without borders, we believe that what astonishes people and thrilling sensations are universal. We hope to create new and lasting ties with more people. Enku, which means “the fate of the sky,” is our name for the beautiful sky and what connects people around the world.
The warm and enticing color of our leather is a result of the plant dyes we use.
Every day, we examine the indigo and sometimes spend hours decocting the dye. Our leather is carefully dyed over time. With each mistake, we reexamine the leather and dyes.
Colors change depending on how long leather is immersed in dye, how many times it is dyed and several other variables. We focus our time and effort on each piece of leather, which hinders us from mass production. But each piece is dyed many times and slowly dyed to a deep and vivid color. We also create pale pastel colors that give off a vintage look. All of our leather is dyed only with plants.
The process of dyeing leather is neither easy nor simple. Sometimes the dye is too hot or too cold to the touch. There isn’t a dull moment, and we are often burdened with lower back pain. But the end result of our efforts makes it all worthwhile. We hope you, too, will enjoy the beautiful colors of nature.
There are two basic types of indigo leather: Migaki and Bridle.
This type is characteristic of its smooth, crafted surface. Our craftsmen buff the surface by hand in order to create the silky touch. This leather is also a result of our craftsmen’s knowledge and expertise. In addition to the smooth touch, this leather is durable and less susceptible to discoloring. The color fastness* is 4 to 5. This means the leather may be carried alongside white clothing without fear of staining, and is considered at the top of its class in Japan.
This leather, like a tanned leather, provides a “natural leather look.” A strong and durable coat of wax is dyed into the core to reinforce the fiber, protecting the leather from corrosion. The leather also will evolve into a unique, deep matte color with use. We find just the right temperature when the wax melts without destroying the organic dye. Therefore, the leather weighs almost twice as much as what leather is typically believed to weigh. As a result, the leather becomes denser and highly durable. The dye used to create this natural leather look may result in color migration during initial use.
*Color fastness is a numerical value determining the durability and the degree of discoloring of dyed textiles.
Mr. Harada is an enku craftsman who continues his pursuit of new crafts and techniques of dyeing and manufacturing through his undying curiosity.
His unique dye combinations and technique are a result of many hours of careful research and trial and error. The resulting enku indigo and plant dyed leather is distinctly high quality. We were immediately drawn to this leather and sought out a partnership with enku.
In addition, the leather has undergone strict Dye Fastness Property Inspections and the assessment results (all Levels 4 and 5) are published alongside their products. Furthermore, the welt on each leather product is reinforced with wax and Funori polishing, neither of which are common in today’s inclination for streamlining. Mr. Harada’s persistence as a craftsman is what creates leather products that can be used for a very long time.
At PORT-MART, we hope to continue working with enku and their obsession and passion for their products and expertise in leather dye in order to deliver fine items to our consumers.