Junichi Arai (1932 – 2017) Japanese textile designer and producer

Crinkled Sheer Fabric. c. 1995 by Junichi Arai
Crinkled Sheer Fabric. c. 1995 by Junichi Arai

Junichi Arai (1932 – 2017) was a Japanese textile designer and producer born in Kiryu, Gunma. Arai is an acknowledged leader in the field of experimental weaving technology, combining traditional and futuristic, often with unexpected qualities. He worked closely with the fashion designer Issey Miyake in the 1980s.

Biography

As the sixth generation of a mill-owning family, Arai grew up with fabrics being woven for obis and kimonos. He held traditional weaving methods in high regard and the skills that only the human hand can have in the art of fabric making. Nuno Corporation, a company and retail store that manufactures and sells innovative functional fabrics, was founded in 1984. Arai took a conventional approach to his business, hiring local craftspeople to help him develop his work, even though his work was technically innovative.

Scarf Japan (1993) by Junichi Arai (Cooper Hewitt)
Scarf Japan (1993) by Junichi Arai (Cooper Hewitt)

Arai specialised in deeply textured, sculptural fabrications using celluloid, aluminium tape, metallic filament, silk, and polyester; shifted to technological experimentation, maximising the potential of punched cards used on jacquard looms by producing them by the computer; created fabrics from yarns with different shrinkage rates and under extreme heat; and lacerated film into complex wefts.

Following that, he worked as an independent designer through his Nuno shop in Tokyo.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Junichi Arai. Junichi Arai | Biography | People | Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. (n.d.). https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/18045617/bio#ch.

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