Jumble Exhibition: Tokyo, Japan

The 80's band Alphaville may have popularized the phrase, "Big in Japan" with their hit single of the same name, but for decades, artists, actors, and fashion companies have looked to this island nation as a litmus test for all things cool. If you're "Big in Japan", meaning, the Japanese love what you are doing, then you pretty much know you are forward thinking.

We are excited to share that Ohio Knitting Mills was invited to mount a historic retrospective exhibit at one of Japan's top fashion trade shows, Jumble: The Exhibition of Art & Fashion, in September of 2013. The Japanese are highly influenced by vintage, especially American styling, and when we were asked to present a special exhibit at the show, we went into major planning mode. We worked to design, build and deliver, yes, that means shipping, an exhibition of OKM vintage sweaters, tags, artifacts, imagery and display materials to Tokyo.

As you can imagine, the folks in Japan loved the unique historic elements of our archive collections. We feel so fortunate and honored to have shared with the design and fashion community of Japan our own cultural and apparel roots. Amongst the dozens of one-of-a-kind men's and women's sweaters from the OKM archives c.1940-70, a definite fan favorite was an early 1950's wool pullover featuring a large red duck flying across a grey background.

OKM has the very good fortune of having a business partner in Tokyo, J. Dallas Pyle, who is fluent in both English and Japanese, and he was invaluable in helping us navigate the inspiring chaos of Tokyo- an indescribable ramen that we came to think of as a blend of 'the floating world' and "Blade Runner", densely filled in with deliciously designed foods, stores, houses, places, and people. We also prepared by printing the history of our company in kanji for everyone to take home on a postcard. We learned that "vintage" is a universal word and that people were so inspired by our story of reviving a historic factory after production ground to a halt. We frequently heard comments of "We wish companies would do that here!" which confirmed for us that we are on the right path internationally as well. 

Here is a short video taken at the tradeshow. You may recognize our President, Steven Tatar as the camera walks the show floor.


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