“enku” is a brand for Japanese indigo dyed leather founded in 2013 by Mr. Kenichi Harada who is a Tokyo-based leather and dye artisan. Japanese indigo dye is also called “Japan blue” and its beauty is attracting many fans overseas. However, dyeing leather is still uncommon because of the technical difficulties. Through repeated trial and error along with extensive studies on the materials, Mr. Harada was finally able to find his original process for dyeing. The products of “enku” are all handmade using natural dyes. The texture of the leather and hue which is vibrant yet deep, show the uniqueness of this brand. Another key feature of the brand is the simple and timeless design of the products making them suitable for long term usage.
Mr . Harada is expressing indigo dyed leather in various ways such as bridle leather, gradation dyeing and stencil dyeing using rice bran and sticky rice glue. Expertise and experience are required because the nuances of indigo dyeing depend on the temperature and the humidity as well as the difference in materials. The dyed leather is made into products such as wallets and coin cases by Mr. Harada himself and they are sent out to the world one at a time.
Mr. Harada works on natural dyeing using madder and a type of grass called kariyasu as well as indigo. He has a strong resolve to reflect natural hues on leather. He also incorporates a Japanese traditional dyeing technique called “katazome” (a kind of resist dyeing) used for kimono fabric into his leather dyeing. With his insatiable appetite for challenges and new expressions, his brand captures customers’ hearts. The word “enku” means “link” and “sky” in Japanese which conjures an image of boundless expansion. Being true to its name, the brand keeps on evolving, being cherished without boundary and timelessly.