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Article: Dialogue vol.1|KAPOK KNOT founding members talk about “Farm to Fashion”

Dialogue vol.1|KAPOK KNOT founding members talk about “Farm to Fashion”

KAPOK KNOT is a fashion brand made from tree nuts. We celebrated our 1st anniversary on October 6th and held an Instagram Live as an anniversary project.

 This time, we introduce the first part of the conversation, "Farm to Fashion." Two KAPOK KNOT members who have been with us since the company's founding will talk about their thoughts on creating the brand.

【table of contents】
・These two people were interviewed
・What is KAPOK KNOT?
・Encounter with Kapok
・Questions from viewers about Kapok
・The warmth of down at only 500g
・Secret stories from visiting a farm in Indonesia

These two people talked

KAPOK KNOT representative Kisho Fukai

KAPOKKNOT representative
After graduating from Keio University in 2014, he worked for a real estate venture and a major textile manufacturer before joining his family business, Futaba Shoji Co., Ltd., an apparel manufacturer founded 74 years ago. He had doubts about the current apparel industry, which is based on mass production and mass disposal, but at the end of 2018, he encountered Kapok and was convinced of his destiny. Started the KAPOK KNOT brand concept. A self-proclaimed kapok evangelist who says "kapok" more than 10 times a day.


KAPOK KNOT Art Director Yuta Toyama

KAPOKKNOT Art Director

Graduated from Keio University in 2014. Utilizing the design skills he started while still in school, he has worked as an art director, graphic designer, and illustrator. He also serves as the CEO of Letibee Co., Ltd., which provides services related to LGBT and diversity, which was founded based on his own experience of heartbreak and coming out in high school.



--The brand's first Instagram live. First of all, please introduce KAPOK KNOT.


Fukai: We are developing products using cotton from the kapok tree, based on the concept of ``a fashion brand made from nuts.'' Here are this year's products.

air light jacket

Fukai) We made a thin and light hooded jacket. It's really light, and to use something familiar, it weighs 500g, which is the weight of a single plastic bottle . Additionally, it is waterproof and can withstand rain and wind. Kapok fiber has the property of absorbing moisture and generating heat , making it warm. There is a logo on the arm, and this one was made by Yuta-kun (Toyama).



Toyama) The theme of this logo is the Japanese "mizuhiki" . It is often used at weddings, and the idea is that the knot will last for a long time, as the knot will never come undone . It is derived from KAPOK KNOT's KNOT (knot in Japanese), and carries the "sustainable" motif, which is one of the brand 's themes.

Encounter with Kapok

--Today (October 6th, the day of our conversation) is the 1st anniversary of the brand's launch, so could you tell us about the background of the brand's establishment in the first place?

Fukai: I joined my family's business, Futaba Shoji, at the age of 25 as the heir to a 74-year-old apparel company. Although I was aware of the issue of mass production and mass waste in the apparel industry, I felt that it would be difficult for me alone to change the problem because it was a deep-rooted problem within the industry itself. If we were to change things, I thought that if we didn't start by changing the basic ingredients, our family business would disappear in 5 to 10 years.

That's when I discovered kapok. Before returning to the family business, I worked in the textile industry, so I was aware of kapok, but I had heard that it was difficult to use as a material for clothing. However, I found a clue in my previous job, so I decided to establish it as a new brand for my family business.

--I see. Your awareness of the issues in the apparel industry and your encounter with materials led to the establishment of your brand. So, could you tell us about your worldview and thoughts on what you want to achieve through manufacturing using kapok?

Toyama) One of our goals at KAPOK KNOT is to create products that feel good to both the person who makes them and the person who wears them. I'm gay, but I want to create a rich environment where people with various sexual orientations can live comfortably. KAPOK KNOT has a concept of being a brand that is unbiased between the creators and consumers, and does not force sustainability on its customers, so I am involved with it because I think there is something in common with my wishes.

Fukai) At this stage, we are using kapok as an alternative material to down. Since it is a nut, there is no need to kill animals or worry about deforestation. What we want to do is create clothes that warm both the mind and body using materials that are not traditionally used in clothing, such as petroleum and polyester materials .

Also, related to what Yuta-kun said, KAPOK KNOT provides a safe space for LGBT people to come out. This is because we believe that society will be a better place if everyone respects each other. I want everyone to expand their sense of self and aim for a sustainable worldview where everyone respects each other, including producers, consumers, and the environment .

Just 500g of down warmth

--Could you please introduce the actual product?

stainless steel collar coat

KAPOK KNOT's first item "Sten collar coat"

Fukai) KAPOK KNOT basically makes cold weather coats for winter. The stainless steel collar coat we created last year was targeted at people working in the Marunouchi area, with the idea of ​​eliminating the bulk of their outerwear when commuting by train. And this time it's a hooded jacket. The main feature is that it is lightweight and has a special waterproof treatment, so it repels water when it rains!

air light jacket 2

“Air Light Jacket” developed by Makuake in 2020

Fukai) The big difference from last year's stainless steel collar coat is the design. This time, we are asking a fashion designer who has experience at Paris Fashion Week. There is a lot of attention to detail in the design, such as the brand logo on the inside of the coat. It also has a function that can be used as a pocket. The lining of the hood is made of brushed fabric that is soft to the touch, and the lining is made of polyester material that is smooth.

Toyama) The catchphrase for this product is ``Just 500g and the warmth of down . '' The weight is equivalent to one 500g plastic bottle filled with water. Winter outerwear has an image of being heavy, but the Air Light Jacket overturns that notion.

Questions from viewers about Kapok

--We have some questions from viewers.
Question 1: I believe it has been difficult to develop kapok for apparel use, but I would like to know how you overcame it.

Fukai) It is true that it was difficult to develop kapok for apparel use. This is because it is a light and short fiber that is difficult to make into thread, making it a difficult material to use for clothing. So, at my previous job at a textile company, I came up with a plan to process kapok into sheets. At KAPOK KNOT, we make outerwear by using this sheet as the filling for clothing.

Toyama) The secret to Kapok is that it has a hollow structure.

Illustration of heat generation due to moisture absorption

Fukai) Yes, the fibers are hollow and contain a large amount of air , creating warmth. It is said to be a breathing fiber and has the ability to absorb moisture and generate heat.

--Question 2: "Does the sheet processing also take place at a factory in Indonesia?" ”

(Fukai) Kapok nuts come from Indonesia, but the sheets themselves are made in a factory in China. In the future, we are currently researching whether all work can be done in Indonesia.

--Question 3: Do kapok farmers make a living solely from their kapok farms? ”

Fukai) It is difficult to make a living from kapok alone. This is because the fruit of the kapok tree is from September to November. At other times of the year, there are many farmers who grow different fruits, raise livestock, and do other things rather than being full-time kapok farmers.

--Question 4: Is it true that kapok is used as an oil adsorbent? ”

Fukai) Yes. Kapok is used as an oil adsorbent to absorb sea oil. Kapok's light weight and ability to float on water allows it to absorb sea oil. Recently, there was a heavy oil spill accident on the island of Mauritius, and the characteristics of kapok can be utilized in such situations.

Behind-the-scenes stories from visiting a farm in Indonesia

--The two of you actually visit farmers in Indonesia, right? Please tell us about any episodes from that time.

Fukai: The first reason I wanted to go to Indonesia was because I wanted to see where kapok was produced. When I visited the Indonesian consulate and told them that I really wanted to see a kapok farm, I received several lists of contact information. I sent emails to several companies in English, which I was not used to, and decided to visit the only company that responded.

Toyama) I went to Jakarta and visited Surabaya, where there is a kapok factory. The first visit was only to the factory, and the second visit was to the farm. It took about 7 hours by car to get to the farm... (lol)

--Are there any memorable events that happened while you were there?

indonesian factory woman

Fukai: I was surprised at how quickly the local women worked. You could feel the craftsmanship in cracking the nuts, removing the seeds, and cutting out the cotton.

Toyama: I was also surprised at the site where the nuts were collected. They climb trees and pick nuts. We tried too, but we couldn't climb at The sight of them climbing up the tree as if they were jumping and collecting the nuts from the branches was a true masterpiece of craftsmanship. Also, in addition to the farm and factory, I was also able to visit a facility that researches kapok.

(Fukai) The Kapok research facility is located in Malang, a two-hour flight from Jakarta and about a three-hour drive. Many universities and schools are located in Malang because it is located in a high position and it is cool to study.

There are about 150 types of kapok in the world. At a research facility in Indonesia, we are studying all the characteristics of various types of kapok, such as whether or not they are likely to become nuts, and researching the ways in which kapok can be used effectively and its possibilities. We also use the proceeds from KAPOK KNOT to plant trees locally , so we are doing research together with them.


--Finally, please give us your comments!

Toyama) KAPOK KNOT products are full of backstories. There are many other charms that we were not able to convey in this interview, so if you are interested, please take a look at the official website.

Fukai) KAPOK KNOT has only been in existence for a year , but we are pouring our hearts and souls into it. A lot of people are already involved, but we would like to build the brand together with everyone, so we look forward to your cooperation!