Tabi are traditional Japanese socks that separate the big toe from the other toes. Jikatabi are rubber-soled tabi made to be worn outdoors. A brand named SOUSOU in Kyoto produces and sells so-called modern-design jikatabi. Here’s an interview with the designer, Mr. Wakabayashi:
1. Why jikatabi?
They’re functional, uniquely proportioned, and also traditional. It’s hard to find anything like jikatabi anywhere else in the world. Japanese people think they’re shoes for construction workers. Overseas people think they’re stylish. I think jikatabi design is particularly interesting for those who don’t know its history.
2. Kyoto and tradition
I enjoy producing traditional Japanese goods. I imagine what I create could become everyday items for the next generation. I believe it’s important in this day and age to incorporate Japanese traditions into fashion and keep them evolving.
3. Dreams for the future
If more young people enjoy this sort of thing, it will boost the traditional crafts industry. Japanese fashion has been totally westernized. I’ll be delighted if my products become a forerunner of increasing Japanese influence on fashion trends.