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THE STORY BEHIND DOEK SHOES MADE IN KURUMUE, JAPAN.

Posted by Chris Low on

Good Weaver is the parent company of Doek Shoes and Shoes Like PotteryThe name doek means"cloth" in Dutch and Moonstar is the factory where they are made. In this blog post, we will look at how both Good Weaver combines the expertise of Moonstar to create a canvas sneaker quite unlike any other. 

Moonstar factory

Hailing from Kurume city in Fukuoka prefecture, Japan, Moonstar is one of only three factories left in Japan that manufacture vulcanised canvas sneakers. Vulcanization is the process where the rubber is heated with sulphur to produce a polymer which is a more robust and durable form of rubber. This is achieved by heating the rubber in a kiln and adding sulphur to change the chemical element of the rubber. This process in Japanese is called 'Ka Ryu' and is very similar to the way Japanese pottery is fired as seen 'Shoes Like Pottery'.

Moonstar KilnThe Kilns of the Moonstar factory.

The Moonstar factory has a long history making canvas footwear for over 140 years. They were the first factory to make an athletic canvas sneaker for the Japanese fashion market in the 1960s after being commissioned by the fashion brand Van. Many modern brands such as The Hill-Side and Nigel Carbourn seek out their expertise and have their own ranges of footwear made there.

Van Sneaker AdvertVan magazine advert from the 1960-70s. 

Good Weaver is responsible for creating custom fabrics for the uppers of Shoes Like Pottery and Doek. The area of Kurume has a long history of rubber making, however, they are also famous for the Kasuri style of weaving. This labour intensive form of weaving utilising shuttle looms, creates a rough and textured finish that is unique to every shoe. Due to the fact that most of the work must be done by hand, very few modern factories still use this technique preferring to rely on machine and printing to achieve the same results.

Good Weaver Kasuri WeavingGood Weaver's Shuttle Looms

Kasuri weaving is only one part of the process. The company also uses highly skilled and labor-intensive traditional methods to dye the fabrics. These result in amazing depths of colour that will patina with age.

Good Weaver Indigo DyingThe traditional method of Indigo dying.  

The shoes themselves all draw inspiration from the various iconic canvas tennis shoes of yesterday such as Vans, Converse and Pro-Keds. This method of production is so hands on by the many skilled workers involved and the clean design of the sneakers all combine to create a truly unique piece of footwear. 

You can shop our range of Doek and Shoes Like Pottery here 

 


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