We aim to enrich your daily living
by offering “feel-good” clothes.
45rpmの服作り the 45r Clothes makingsee more
The Challenge of
Koromo means “clothing,” and our Koromo Research Department is where our monozukuri’s roots lie. Here we make our own raw materials, yarn, fabric, designs, plans, colors, patterns, and even printing templates. There may be no other clothing company that does all this themselves, but we have no choice—the things we want don’t exist anywhere else. This is how we came up with our philosophy of nai monozukuri: creating things that don’t exist (nai mono), but feel like they should.
We love garments that are frank and to-the-point—that make the power of their raw materials tangible. We visit artisanal workshops all over the world to learn from traditional costumes. We also seek clothing with a certain elegance and refinement. Above all, we adore clothes that simply feel good to wear. You might say that we’re pursuing the rarest, purest, and most extreme examples of the form. The challenge of nai monozukuri is never-ending.
Many different kinds of wool are used in clothes:
Shetland, Merino, Arles, Alpaca, Cashmere . . . Every
variety is unique in its own way, reflecting the kind of
animal it grows on and the environment they live in.
For example, Shetland Island is cold and windy, so the sheep there have stiff, durable wool to protect them from the harsh natural conditions. Shetland wool has a supple elasticity and gloss that is second to none. That’s why genuine Shetland wool from sheep living on the island is the only raw material we accept for tweed jackets and Shetland knits.
It was probably inevitable that our pursuit of perfection
would eventually lead us to 100% natural Ai indigo. The
colors it imparts to clothing, which also depend on local
climate and environmental conditions, have a depth and
complexity that chemical dyes could never replicate.
The variety traditionally cultivated in Japan is called tade-ai, or Persicaria tinctoria. It takes around a year to complete a single batch—to grow a field full of it which is then harvested, fermented, and prepared for the dyeing process. We cultivate our Ai Indigo with great, great care.
Harvest: Late June–August
Sukumo (dye) production: November–February
Zimbabwe cotton and Supima organic cotton are two
essential pillars of our enterprise.
Zimbabwe cotton soaks up the brilliant African sun as it grows. It has firmness and body, and brims with energy. It makes fabric with a crisp, dry feel that conforms more snugly to your body with every wash-wear cycle.
Supima organic cotton is soft and supple, with extremely long fibers that are a true rarity and impart a refined gloss. The elegant feel of Supima organic cotton textiles is truly unique.
If you want to make clothes that feel good, nothing is more important than your raw materials.
Spinning yarn is another task we put our own spin on. When making yarn for T-shirts and denim, we make a point of creating slight variations along the yarn’s width. This gives the fabric an uneven surface that almost seems to be laughing. This is the secret to making garments that feel fresh and don’t cling to the skin.
The Human Touch
To make the clothes we want to, nai monozukuri is the only way. Our basic approach is to choose the raw materials and make everything ourselves, from yarn onward. As we work, we use our hands to touch, to feel, to press the fabric to our skin and make sure it feels as good as we imagine. Step by step, we bring garments into being that have never existed before.
Yasumi-san’s family owned a kimono store in Hiroshima
Prefecture. She loved to draw from a young age, and she
also loved fashion so much that she would naturally study
it in movies, in photographs, and simply out
Even now, Yasumi-san’s head is constantly filled with new ideas—unique designs and styles that she gets down on paper in sketches.
Incidentally, these are her favorite glasses, which she wears only at work.
Folding in Stories
What we prize is clothing with stories.
That story might be about a solitary woman, a place, a photograph . . . Whatever the case, we plan our approach to design based on that story. Would an oversized sweater suit that character? What about a skirt like this . . . ?
All of our designs are drawn by hand, from T-shirt and
fleece prints to intricate floral and paisley patterns for
blouses and bandanas.
Look closely at hand-drawn designs, and you can always see a certain cheerful irregularity. That sense of play is what gives our clothes their “45R-ness.”
Our vintage gallery has rack upon rack filled with vintage clothes collected from the United States, Europe, and Asia. Some of our pieces are so rare they’d be difficult to find at a retail vintage clothes dealer! This is a treasure trove of ideas for monozukuri.
Down to the Last Floorcloth
In days gone by, there were no handy machines or
artificial fibers. The clothes people made had to be
richly functional, born of the wisdom of handcraft and
pride in a job well done. Garments were handed down as
people outgrew them, and when they finally got too old to
use, they were cut up and resewn into quilted floorcloths
to use some more.
We look very closely at the textiles we encounter—how individual threads are organized, how the sewing is accomplished—and use this information in our work. There’s so much we can learn from those who came before us. Their culture of letting nothing go to waste is an inheritance we prize.
The Katachi Research Department—katachi is Japanese for “shape” or “form”—is divided into two teams: Modelists (patterners) and Dandori (production managers). Together, they give ideas form. Somewhere inside 45R, in a room with “LABORATORY” written on the door, Modelists in white coats busily work the treadles of sewing machines. (There are more than ten sewing machines in the laboratory, each designed for a specific kind of work.) Modelists do more than simply create paper patterns—they are tailors in their own right, who can and do make the finished garments those patterns represent. What our Modelists strive to uphold is, in a way, the art of not designing. If you gaze at a textile and ponder its practical applications long enough, the most beautiful forms it could take on eventually present themselves. Simple beauty is found in function.
Once a new garment’s form is finalized, the next step is turning this into a product that can be produced in bulk. This is where the Dandori take over, taking samples made by the Modelists along with very carefully written specification sheets to our factories to discuss production. Dandori keep their hands on the tiller until the product reaches store shelves. From Koromo Research Department to factories, and then to stores—our Katachi Research Department connects people to each other and to each other’s passion. Its team is the fulcrum of our monozukuri.
Modelists bring fabric to life, searching for the forms
and specifications that suit each textile best. They
pursue design born of function, like those seen in vintage
garments that have been worn with love for years. And they
do this because they understand the value of going the
extra mile to express something beyond imitation—something
All without forgetting their sense of fun, of course!
Ura koso omote: “What is hidden from view is a product’s true face.” This is the idea that guides our Modelists as they strive to create patterns they would be just as proud of if they were taken apart and scrutinized a hundred years from now.
Once the pattern is ready, the first toile is created.
This is an initial version of the garment made using the
pattern but out of plain sheeting rather than the actual
intended material. The goal at this stage is simply to
check the form.
Modelists make their own toiles using our laboratory’s sewing machines. Piecing the shapes together with their own hands helps them identify any issues with the specifications or form they have envisaged. The toile fitting is also used to pick out issues that only reveal themselves when the garment is worn by someone.
After repeated cycles of making, unmaking, and remaking, the Modelist finally arrives at a design that satisfies their expectations.
Once we receive the final samples from our factories, we
carry them to the exhibition hall for display.
A hall full of samples lined up in rows is a breathtaking sight. What kind of story is about to begin? This is a moment of pure excitement for everyone involved, from creators to store staff.
Actual Size, Actual Materials
The Katachi Research Department takes fabrics fresh from
the Koromo Research Department and tailors them into
sample garments. Because we do our own prototyping, we are
able to create detailed instructions and identify points
where caution is needed, and these are shared with our
factories. We make our own buttons and fasteners as well,
so confirming their compatibility with the fabric is
another key task.
Once the sample is sewn together, we ask: Does it work as we envisaged it? Did we design it in the right size? At this stage, adjustments are often made by the millimeter.
Our clothes can be enjoyed in a diversity of ways, from
small to large, so sizing is crucial. Working from the
sample as a base size, we change the pitch and scale the
pattern up and down as needed.
This doesn’t just mean changing measurements. Different sizes require all kinds of specialized grading. Pockets need to be repositioned to maintain balance, and even the size of the stitches can differ. The goal is simple:
to ensure that every garment in every size is as cute as it can possibly be.
“Eight parts preparation, two parts execution,” as an old
Japanese saying goes. Shokudashi literally means “Sending
work to the artisans.” This is the process that brings the
ideas from our atelier into the world at large,
transforming one-of-a-kind samples made with as much care
as any folk craft into products we can sell at stores
around the world.
As we hand the baton to our factories, we always keep one thing in mind: No matter how many of a given product we make, for the customer who buys it, it is their only one.
Partners Around the World
As part of our search for the truly unique—things that
can’t be made anywhere else, or by anyone else—we aim to
create a worldwide network of specialists connected by our
“Made in Japan” is important to us, but above all we are driven by our passion for nai monozukuri—making things that do not yet exist, but should. Unbounded by language or culture, with our sights set high, we communicate in the common language of passion.
The Final Check
An electric atmosphere. Lines of models wearing new
garments, awaiting inspection.
This is the final check, where everything is examined closely: materials, shape, silhouette, delivery date, and the finest details of the specifications. The sharp eyes of our Oyakata (also the company president) examine garments from the front, sides, rear, and even the inside. All so that that we can enrich your daily living by offering “feel-good” clothes.
We make our clothes with passion and with care. Examining the finished product anew from a fresh, bird’s-eye perspective is the vital final stage in the process.
Feet on the Ground,
Working With Our Hands
There aren’t many clothing companies that also own their own factories. Ours began as a partner we met through our president, and eventually joined the 45R family directly. The sweatshirts our sweater factory makes have a puffy volume to them that you won’t find anywhere else. A few years from now, the factory will move to Ichinomiya, and a new history will begin.
SDL 45R has venerable old knitting machines whose sound
and movements have a nostalgic leisure to them—like a
steam train. They produce fabrics with a certain
irregularity to them here and there, adding depth and
allowing an air-filled puffy finish.
Taking this as a starting point, SDL 45R is now sharing its techniques with a new generation of artisans, striving busily every day to bring feel-good knits to customers around the world.
Knitted fabrics are sent through SDL 45R’s in-house
washing machine, where the water adds character. Then they
are carefully cut, and the pieces sewn together.
Prickly seams can undermine the best-feeling fabric, so we sew as smoothly as possible, keeping the wearer foremost in mind.
Made in SDL
Clothes made at SDL 45R proudly bear witness to that
Each garment has its own name tag—a tube of knitted fabric with “SDL 45R” embroidered on it in red thread.
Tags are part of clothing. They have to suit our soft, high-volume knit-and-sew garments.
A Repository of Technique Headquarters
SDL 45R’s strength is its mastery of a wide range of techniques, from knitting to washing to sewing. Normally, each of these tasks would be handled at a separate factory. The knit-and-sew garments they produce combine all of these techniques into individual garments that break the mold of monozukuri. There’s a reason they can’t be found anywhere else: only SDL 45R’s techniques make them possible.
Fully Focused on
Appare is Japanese for “Glorious!” or “Well done!” The Appare Department’s mission is twofold: to fill stores with 45R products and the passion of those who make them, and to continue delighting customers with any additional support needed afterward. Any homare (praise) or “Seeds for growth” (customer comments) we receive are fed back into future monozukuri and customer service, creating new virtuous circles. We call this an iyasaka no kairo—a circuit in which everything keeps getting better and better. Whatever challenges we face, the Appare Department strives to keep glorious flowers blooming.
Masters of the Seasonal Calendar
“This is adorable! They’ll love it! Make XXXX copies—no,
What to print, and how many copies; when to lay it out in stores . . . Discussing these questions is the Merchandising team’s job. We prepare estimates and plans with the goal of reaching as many customers as possible with zero waste, assembling the 45R of tomorrow.
Tap, tap. Vrrr, vrrr. Several times a year, these sounds
echo throughout our atelier as we prepare for an
exhibition by making our own “furnishings” (shitsurae—our
term for visual merchandising).
Our passion for monozukuri is expressed not only in the clothing we make, but also the work we do to breathe life into exhibition spaces. We then recreate these spaces faithfully in our stores and welcome customers into them every day.
We start each season with a catalog that reaches customers
just before our garments do. Designer Yasumi Inoue takes
the lead in finding new ways to share the worldview in our
minds with the world outside.
The more pages you turn, the more pleasures you find. We strive to make each catalog the kind of publication that demands to be shelved and kept no matter how old it gets.
In order to share the passion of the workers behind our
clothes directly, we started sharing a range of
information through social media and our website, with a
rapidity and closeness that feels “close enough to share
As part of these efforts, we shoot video productions in our atelier, from 45R Blue Ocean Movie, a monozukuri movie produced by actual planning staff, to Yasumi Inoue’s styling suggestions or “Yasuminates,” which she has been offering for 30 years.
We also handle press, including putting samples in stylists’ hands.
“Well, this is a problem . . . What should I do now?” At
times like this, please contact the Listening team!
Our mission is to listen to and understand customers that contact us in a range of ways, from email to telephone, and to resolve their issues as quickly as possible.
But that’s not all. The Listening team also plays an important role by using this feedback as “Seeds for growth” and performing course corrections to fine-tune 45R’s circuits for even better results.
Minding the Store
“Sanpo-yoshi”—good for buyer, seller, and society—was the
traditional business philosophy of the famous Omi
merchants of Japan. We strive to follow their example by
initiating and maintaining positive iyasaka no kairo
circuits that benefit artisans, customers, and regional
To run a store that feels good, cooperation from department stores and our fellow tenants is essential. We share information and craft marketing plans to ensure that we approach things with the same aspirations.
For new stores, the process is the same. We hold discussions with local stakeholders to make sure we make our arrival in a manner that works for everyone.
We create accurate sorting orders to send products gathered from workshops to stores around the world. Our inventory management efforts cover not only products but also the business supplies used by 45R stores, which we order and ship as needed. We are the head stocktakers of the Appare Department.
International Store Management
45R has stores in the United States, France, and many
cities in Asia, including Hong Kong. Our job is to make
sure that the passion for monozukuri that begins in our
atelier reaches customers along with our products, no
matter which store those customers visit.
We help overcome the language barrier at exhibitions, handle trans-oceanic shipping, and run training sessions for staff from different cultures. We want to share 45R with as many people as we can, and that means eagerly connecting with overseas customers we haven’t yet met—but soon will.
Our internal distribution center 45 Studio R sends our products, which are made with love and care, to stores around the world. Each item is packed lightly in its own box to avoid creasing, and sent on its way with a cheerful “Safe travels!”
We could have the most appealing lineup, the most stylish stores, the most wonderful staff in the world, but none of it would matter if the clothes stopped circulating. 45 Studio R is the beating heart of everything we do.
Receiving and Inspection
Freshly made clothing arrives not just from Japan but from
factories around the world.
“What’s in the shipment today?”—the 45 Studio R staff open the boxes with excitement, as if they were treasure chests.
Sorting and Shipping
Products are packed in individual boxes for shipment to stores. This helps keep them soft and fresh. To avoid creasing, we make sure to leave just a little more space than necessary.
Two things make a store: its staff and its furnishings. At 45R, we want both of these to be bright, fresh, and individual. We believe this builds the store’s value, and we work on ourselves to that end. Not just by learning more about our products, but also by learning how to style them, furnishing our stores appropriately, studying customer service, and even taking tea ceremony lessons!
We go beyond the framework of the store to learn together autonomously, cultivate individuality, and put this to use in everyday life. This means that when it’s time for work, 45R’s stores are always filled with energy and smiles, and we can welcome customers into an invigorating and healthy space.
Adorning the Store
“Fluffy as fresh-baked bread.”
45R’s products are created with attention paid to the tiniest detail, and we arrange them in stores carefully to ensure that customers see each item at its best. We also use steamers to make clothes soft and fluffy without a single wrinkle.
Our study sessions about products and point-of-sale design help staff keep all merchandise on display with the most appealing points clearly visible.
Each 45R store stocks a different selection of
merchandise. The reason for this is simple: at our
seasonal exhibitions, each store manager decides what to
order for their store.
We believe that the staff at each store know their business and their customer base better than anyone at headquarters. Managers take responsibility for deciding what they can sell—down to the very last piece.
Observant Eyes, Thoughtful Minds, Caring Hearts
We are missionaries of emotion, conveying the thoughts
included in 45R’s products to the customers that buy them.
We use the latest information to help those customers bond
with their new purchases in a way that suits them.
Our LINE account is a low-pressure way for customers to reach us; our telephone support lets customers explain things in a relaxed fashion; our seasonal missives and Instagram posts share information for customers to peruse at their leisure. In all of these media, we strive for the quality of one-on-one interaction.
Hanadokoro Edozakura Florist
More than a few of 45R’s products were inspired by the
elegant shapes and colors of nature. Flowers that may not
be flashy but are tiny and adorable, plants with
appealingly off-beat forms—our Hanadokoro Edozakura
florist deals in a wide range of flowers we fell in love
with at wholesale markets.
Delivering the delights of each season to our customers’ everyday lives is our pleasure.
Tokowa/kairo: Lessons in Grace
By studying traditional Japanese rules of civility and
etiquette, we can take the hospitality we offer customers
to the next level. Leaping outside the company to learn
under the watchful gaze of a cheerful chanoyu teacher is
our Tea Ceremony Club.
Everything this tokowa/kairo learns can be used in stores, from enjoying the changing seasons to treating utensils and equipment with care. And every so often, we hold tea gatherings in a special tea room at our Badou-R headquarters.
Tokowa/kairo: Styling Sessions
Tokowaka means perpetual youth and freshness. Our
tokowa/kairo or “tokowaka circuits” are organizations that
revolve around our in-store employees, designed to help
them continue developing as people without getting rusty.
Teams operate across store and geographical boundaries in
a variety of fields.
These activities include study sessions on styling, where members learn to choose and wear outfits in a way that is true to both 45R and themselves.
After all, we sell clothing—we have to look good!
“Welcome to the store!” when arriving at work; “Thank you
for visiting!” when leaving for the day—45R’s online store
staff make their greetings to the computer screen.
They may not meet customers directly, but they are proud to operate a store that customers can shop at freely, anytime and from anywhere that their lifestyle makes convenient.
Photography and Storytelling
“Take a look at this!” “Let me show you why this material
looks so cute!”
Our staff find ways to showcase the myriad tiny details 45R focus on when making clothes, creating a conversation through photography. They see and wear and touch the garments in place of customers, and then turn those experiences into words, weaving in the passion of the artisans and the monozukuri background—just as if they were writing personal letters.
Our online store has the widest range of any of our
outlets—3,000 different products in all! Inventory is in
constant motion, with new products arriving and being sent
to other stores by the day.
To ensure that none of this bothers our customers, we manage our stock strictly, down to the last item. We also perform careful quality checks, to make sure that nothing disappoints when it reaches customers’ hands. We even make sure to keep indigo out of the sun to avoid premature fading, while still keeping it ready to ship at any time.
Pickup and Shipping
Imagine a wall lined with clothing. Our whole staff helps take garments down from the wall and prepare lots for shipping, to make sure the job gets done quickly but without any color or sizing problems. We carefully refold each garment, imagining how excited customers will be to see their orders when they open the boxes. Once the boxes are sealed and ready to go, we wish them a hearty “Safe journey!” and track them carefully until they arrive safely at their destination.
No, the Beginning!
45R’s relationship with a customer doesn’t end when they buy one of our products. In fact, that’s when the relationship begins! Our service team is dedicated to helping customers enjoy the clothes they decided to buy for as long as possible.
Our Manzoku Atelier offers everything from alterations to complete remakes. The 45R Laundry refreshes garments that need a pick-me-up after a hard season’s work. Futatabi Jeans breathes new life into denim that is no longer worn. The service team honors the love our customers feel for the garments they chose to buy, delivering satisfaction and joy.
Proper care is vital for clothes in heavy rotation.
We work with dry cleaners whose techniques are friendly to both humans and the environment to restore clothes to a state that feels good while preserving the character they have developed. Naturally, we take responsibility for our customers’ precious garments from the moment we accept them to the moment we give them back.
“I don’t wear this anymore, but I can’t bring myself to
throw it out . . .”
“I wore this so much that it’s full of holes now . . .”
“This is a little bit too long . . .”
These are the issues our Satisfaction Workshop resolves, mending and remaking clothes to breathe new life into them.
Sometimes we hold a pop-up Satisfaction Workshop in one of our stores, and the classic items brought in by customers reflect years of love! We accept responsibility for keeping this love alive by ushering those garments through the process of rebirth.
We value clothes and avoid waste.
To keep unnecessary disposal to a minimum, we accept clothing that has finished serving customers, reclaim its materials, and use these to make new garments.
Heed our call, O garments of 45R!
45R is a denim brand.
Denim can show many different faces depending on who wears it. That’s part of the appeal! But sometimes it can be hard to “raise” denim the way you imagined . . .
Futatabi Jeans—futatabi means “again”—accepts these wayward garments packed away at the back of customers’ closets, and applies processing and color alterations to give them a fresh new look.
Then you can start “raising” it into a one-of-a-kind item all your own once more.
More Than Just Monozukuri
“To be an institution, you have to do more than just uphold tradition. We are living in the present, and evolution and innovation are our mission.” This idea is one of our starting points, and the team at our Ometsuke Department—ometsuke meaning “management” or “supervision”—are the unsung heroes that make our work possible. Behind the scenes, they keep 45R humming by handling personnel, general affairs, and accounting.
The Ometsuke Department’s Personnel and General Affairs staff are responsible for creating a workplace where employees feel safe, secure, ready to work, and able to grow. Our employees come from many different generations and walks of life, but the department’s staff connect with each and every one as an individual. Meanwhile, the Accounting staff hold the company’s purse strings, keeping a strict eye on the money that flows in and out from day to day. This strictness is, of course, for the benefit of the company and its staff. We’re proud of our taut, muscular accounting approach, which combines evolution with innovation.
Disaster Prevention and Security
If disaster should strike during the work day, we have all the equipment we need on hand for employees to seek temporary shelter. We maintain and manage it carefully to make sure nothing is missing or unusable should it be needed. And, to protect the company from danger on a more everyday level, our maintenance and security efforts are airtight.
Personnel and General Affairs
Our Personnel and General Affairs team finds people who
identify with our feelings about clothing and want to pour
their passion into working with us. You might say their
job is to uncover and polish diamonds in the rough. They
also maintain a working environment that lets employees
focus on their own work, and create administrative systems
that let staff and their families lead healthy lifestyles.
Working while raising children is the norm today, and our Akane Team is made up of working parents who come together to support each other.
Systems and Infrastructure Maintenance
Much of our work is still done by hand in the analogue world, but our IT systems are the fulcrum of the company. Our Systems and Infrastructure Maintenance staff perform a wide range of development and maintenance tasks to bring 45R together as a unified organization, from setting up company phones to designing and constructing mission-critical backbone systems.
Finance and Accounting
Monozukuri, hitozukuri (training people), misezukuri
(building stores), kaishazukuri (growing the company)—to
ensure that all of these go smoothly, our accounting staff
keep a close eye on our figures every day.
As a general rule, they use IT systems for their work, but the final step is analogue—finalizing their decisions with a large stamp that reads “APPROVED.”
This is their morning routine as they support the company with our Oyakata, like runners in a three-legged race.