Work Methods At Okayama Kougei, we are divided into three different production departments: Sales, Design, and a team of the Kyoto Yuzen Craft specialists. These three divisions carry out their individual tasks while exchanging information and proposals with each other in order to produce our kimonos. Sales Department The Sales Department is divided into two sections: one consisting of the workers who manage all stages of the creation process, and the other consisting of the artists as well as the marketing division. The workers’ section focuses primarily on fulfilling the requests of our primary clients, the Muromachi stores. Muromachi is lined with wholesale stores in the neighborhood at Shijo and Muromachi Streets. The designs, prices, and developement plans for our products are based on the clients’ proposals. White cloth is given to a craftsperson with the appropriate skill level for the cloth, and she/he will then begin preparing and dyeing the cloth. On the other hand, the marketing department will, as creators, produce and sell kimonos directly to customers. These products are made based on the artists’ own unique thoughts and ideas. With the intermediation of retail shops and presale wholesale stores, these kimonos are put directly on the market. Therefore, it is important that within our company, all departments share mutual understanding and work collectively, from craftspeople to subcontractors, and all the way to the clients. Design Department The Design Department is where the kimono blueprints are drafted. In the past charcoal and a feather brush were used to create the raw sketch, before going over the charcoal with a fine tip brush. This method naturally still exists today, but in recent years the use of computer designed prints has become a part of the drafting process as well. Nonetheless, it is still very much necessary to draw out the designs by hand. Members in the Design Department conduct extensive research on fashion and shops, and even within the department to find the best options for our products. We have a supply room in our workshop where we have accumulated countless sample materials and reference books. Along with the nearly 300 workers who help to prepare the workshop for production, the Design Department is able to create one kimono. This job requires great care and experience. The Design Department also coordinates with the Sales department to gather information on market and consumer trends (in order to meet the demands of the market). In recent years we have begun developing and looking for ways to further improve the look of our own textiles. Yuzen Specialists There are about 20 Yuzen specialists in this department who work diligently day in and day out. The main work in this department is devoted to completing the orders received from the Sales Department. The specialists strive on a daily basis to gain experience and improve their skills so as to create kimonos even more beautiful than before. Furthermore, the specialists continually research and develop new technology and dyes through collaboration with the Sales and Design Departments. There are many people working in this department. From those trying to hone their skills in order to become craftspeople, or artisans like our company chairman who are designated as master craftsmen. The Yuzen Specialists Department is the very foundation of Okayama Kougei.