Designer CEO message
To connect artisan and employment for disable people by design.
This is just KUDEN’s final mission.
I wrote why I start KUDEN and why I commit thoroughly transparency to protect the working environment of sewing factory as a Ethical brand.
It’s long message but if you spend your time to read and sympathize feeling to your important people with me it’s an honor for me.
I have a son, 9 years old now in 2019, he’s mild dyslexia with autism and lives apart from me. I closed my design company before because I got sick from overwork.
I know I was a bad company president, trouble staff and client and make us lived apart from dearest family. For my dream that make the place to work with my disable son living apart, I began my new business. That is the start as KUDEN.
When I was a child, I like making something. My son also likes making and disassembling. To make the place , work with my son as we make something together is my biggest dream on my life and also goal that I definitely want to archive before I die.
I want them who have handicap like my son to know pleasure to earn money by themselves. The place to live comfortable for my son whole his time after I pass away. I want to make business like that. This, is the most important reason I start KUDEN.
Through challenge to my dream, I could see a difficult state of employment for disabled person in Japan. In Japan, there is support for continuous employment Type A service, I call. The number of bankrupt of Type A service are increasing.
*Type A service is for disabled people who age from 18 to 65.
The office must sign a contract of employment with disabled person and pay a salary for their work and also must join the social insurance.
*Japanese ministry of Health announced the fact publicly, in 14th March in 2018. According to their investigation, 71% of Type A service, it’s 2157 office, need to submit the plan for improvement because of their unprofitable operation.
There is a very few company that can employ a person who worked as employment for disabled person at bankrupt company before. Why number of bankrupt company is increasing? Japan sees to become an aging society. It means a decrease in Japanese population and the domestic economic. And also means big market even in Japan will slowdown.
In addition to these depression, one of the reason is many office depends on subsidy and can’t cover the payment only by their own business income. I need a “ financial independent business ” to implement employment for disabled person without needs depending on subsidy. This thought makes a decision that I start the business to the world.
And I find another problem on factory that support makes KUDEN’s woodcraft and clothes , They have a trouble of aging artisan and decrease of works. It’s because of Japanese business depression.
I feel I can solve these problem by process of create and produce KUDEN’s original products. Connecting a lack of artisan’s apprentices to lack of disabled employment is one of the solution, I think. Connect the artisan and employment for disabled person by design , This is my final goal of KUDEN.
Why KUDEN aspire to be ethical brand?
With those mission, KUDEN started as apparel brand on December in 2018 but I faced big, sudden, sad happen that sway my mind as brand owner, a customer and my value for fashion.
It was a news from KUDEN’s partner sewing company that have supported with kind eyes since KUDEN started first challenge as apparel brand and that was they went bankrupt. I thought I have to tell my feelings and decision to my precious customers so I wrote a letter to them.
Dear KUDEN’s precious you
Our partner sewing factory inc. went bankrupt because of the effect of cost reduction for subcontracting company etc.
Hello everyone. Thank you for always support us KUDEN.
Here, designer Takahiro.
On 21st May, I have a very important announcement to you.
I had a call yesterday from president of Marron Inc., our partner sewing factory.
And she said Marron went bankrupt.
Our precious partner went our of b business.
Now I’m raging mad, silently but really.
To myself, it was a selfish and naive customer.
April in 2013, there was a tragic accident caused by rough working environment at Lana Plaza, sewing factory, in Bangladesh.
That caused over thousand of deaths.
After this sad incident , fashion world should have been enhanced the awareness to work environment that people produce clothing and fabric.
It supposed to be so.
But in Japan, even in the world, we can say it’s not getting better.
Simply we can say, It’s caused by customers, includes me, who want cheeper and fast but high quality.
We, customer continue to waste and waste the fashion.
Fashion brand make the flow like “ satisfy those demand “ = “ make money ”.
Of course they can’t make good one only by cheep money so they mass-produce, don’t pay fair fee to sewing factory in the country, brand can employ by cheep personnel expenses.
After that, they mass-dispose for keep their brand’s value and make a monopoly of profit.
This, is the current situation of fashion world tase days.
At Marron, many women and elder people worked so lively, they have excellent sewing technique.
Without Marron’s great technique, experience and kind support to us, Samurai Mode Jacket never been born.
When I had a call from president of Marron,
silently I said,
“Thank you for all your doing. I really proud of you, make your best for not lay off anyone.”
That’s all , I can tell to her.
We grieved for situation of sewing factory and make our best to pay more expensive fee to Marron than other brand.
And we always said to people in Marron,
“ We grow KUDEN and will ask you more and more job!” They smiled, we smiled too.
There is no Marron inc. anymore in the world.
People who worked at Marron must look for new job.
Their great sewing technique disappear , not succeeded to any young people.
We couldn’t do it.
Cried with staffs and talked about what we can do for them all night.
Finally we made a decision.
KUDEN reborn as “ethical brand” that think and think thoroughly about work environment people involved with our produce like sewing and fabric production and effects on nature.
The name “KUDEN” is from “口伝” in Japanese.
This means “ tell to someone by mouth, teach and instruct.”
The reason I named KUDEN to my brand contains a wish “ KUDEN something we want to tell to our close people.”
I don’t want to put clothes made by sacrificing someone on my son I really love.
I don’t want to pay my money to clothes made by sacrificing someone, if even it’s a high brand, it designed by famous people and cool one.
Because I can’t live with feeling ashamed to my son.
“Ethical” is the word that express those feelings and activity by customers.
Directly meaning is moral action or thinking.
KUDEN practice proactively for our “Ethical”, considers deeply to nature and place and life of people support our produce.
Already “Ethical” is expanded in the world, as social problem but their actual situation is thread and thrum in fact.
Even the fast fashion brands, lead a mass-products and mass-disposal till now, say “We go to Ethical” for business, even if it’s a actually not ethical enough.
It has a big self-contradiction.
About ethical, there are a lot of the way to think and approach so we can say also there is no exact answer like “this is the ethical.”
So we must continue to lean, think what is the ethical and practice.
Read to this point,
who think to cut the fast fashion clothes you already have,
Please wait and stop your hand.
When you buy a new one, I and you never buy clothes made by sacrificing someone.
It’s a certainly so, those clothes are made by sacrificing someone,
but we can say that clothes you already have is made by spending someone’s blood and life so taking good care of them and wearing until we can’t wear is also ethical, I think.
As our important mind, we hold up the Ethical considering nature and work environment and design the new fashion has concept “Ethical + Mode.”
Instead of you customers, we study if the fabric and sewing is good for nature and working people etc., provide products with those information.
Those are our job and mission.
I promise we share the information with transparency as much as you customer can make a judgement by yourself.
And I name this “Ethical + Mode” fashion “Samurai Mode” after Japanese samurai protects their precious people.
We continue to try and make efforts for customers enjoy this Samurai Mode and when KUDEN grow up , we hope to employ people worked at Marron again.
Having own factory is very difficult challenge for business.
Even one of the most famous brand Everlane doesn’t have, outsource manufacturing.
Because it’s a low business risk for brand.
We KUDEN keep trying, challenging to the way of new fashion and consumption with you customers.
I appreciate you continuous support.
This is why I start KUDEN and why I commit thoroughly transparency to protect the working environment of sewing factory as a Ethical brand.
I appreciate you spend to read this long message from me.
When you read my and KUDEN’s story, your important person comes to your mind I think.
Would you like to aspire wise customer and lifestyle for your important person?
To you, if KUDEN gives color to your and your important parson’s life through design we couldn’t be happier.
And I really hope we will make an investment our profit that value for pleasure in future for children like my son.