orit. finely crafted scarves from Japan

February 23, 2018 3 min read

orit weaving

orit. is a scarf brand of the AE Handkerchief CO.,LTD, a company founded in 1868, in the Hyogo region of Japan. For 5 generations, they have been specialised in the production of "Banshu-ori", traditionally dyed cotton fabric of the highest quality. The number of manufacturers using Banshu techniques has been steadily decreasing, AE Handkerchief created the orit. brand as a tribute to these traditions and as a way of maintaining them.  

ae handkerchief factory

Proud to be upholding the 200 year-old Banshu-ori tradition, orit. say that their products are "woven in Japan", rather than "made". Banshu-ori is a traditional weaving technique of the Hyogo region which is characterised by "Sakizome", the method by which the thread is dyed prior to weaving. Sakizome allows the craftsmen to create very precise patterns and arrange colours in a truly unique way. 

The origins of Banshu-Ori (Banshu weave) date back over two centuries ago to 1788, when a carpenter from Nishiwaki City was delegated to the rebuilding of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
While in Kyoto, the carpenter studied the structure of the Nishijin brocade loom and brought this new knowledge back home with him.
The story goes that the carpenter took the structure of the Nishijin loom and, by fusing traditional techniques with a newly improved loom, created this innovative and revolutionary weave called the Banshu-Ori.
The Banshu-Ori begins with dyeing the threads before they are woven, so even with repeated use and wash the color is less likely to fade.
This preliminary dye is also less harsh on the overall fabric, resulting in a softer skin touch to the product.

Because the warp yarn and filling yarn are woven using extremely thin threads, the outcome is a finely detailed piece with infinite potential for a rainbow of colors.
Primarily used in luxury brand clothing and various items found in department stores and boutiques internationally, the Banshu-Ori creates beautiful, long-lasting products that are the pride of Japan and loved around the world.

banshu weaves

In a typically Japanese way, the orit. range is a fusion of tradition and cutting edge techniques. Banshu craftsmen from families that have been employed by the company for several generations work with designers firmly ensconced in the 21st century, to create beautifully made woven scarves in stunning designs.

The scarves are woven on vintage looms, these looms weave slowly without applying tension to the thread, producing a very soft and surprisingly gentle texture of a higher quality than could be obtained with modern looms. They are very lightweight and pleasant to wear.

These vintage looms also allow the craftsman to finish the edges in a (much neater) "selvedge". A selvage or selvedge is a self-finished edge of fabric. The selvages keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying. The selvages are a result of how the fabric is created. In woven fabric, selvages are the edges that run parallel to the warp, and are created by the weft thread looping back at the end of each row.

Orit loomOrit loom 2

Due to the nature of these older looms and of the natural materials used, you may sometimes see a (rare) variation in the weave of your scarf and the highly saturated yarns will fade slightly when the scarf is handwashed (see care instructions here), both characteristics ensuring that your scarf is truly unique and will just get more beautiful with use.

We offer orit. scarves in 100% cotton (feels like silk), silk & cotton and cashmere+silk+cotton, most of them are designed to be worn by both men and women.

The cen. range is made from a superfine cotton weave which feels as light and silky as a spiderweb. The colours are deliciously muted and subtle, the texture of the material is very pleasant.

orit cen scarf

sou. adds silk and a beautifully minimalistic look, subtle colours and a textured finish which works well with both business and casual wear. 

orit sou scarf

baku. is like a luxury version of cen. (not that cen. isn't luxurious!), adding cashmere to the silk/cotton mix. The material feels even softer and denser.

orit baku scarf

Last but not least, rin. takes all of these principles to the max: gorgeous, subtle colouring, 56% silk content giving it an incredible hand and sheen, as well as excellent insulating properties.

orit rin scarf

By investing in an orit. scarf, you are helping preserve a 200 year-old craft and will enjoy a beautifully made item which is like no other, for many years. See them here!