Nishiyama is a silk company nestled beneath the Japanese Alps in the village of Ushikubi, and according to local legend, silk production has been rife in the region for 800 years, ever since members of the Genji Clan escaped to the village and taught locals the secrets of silkworms. The story seems more authentic than just being an old yarn: judging by the wooden looms and fairy-tale-like spinning wheels, the company’s weaving techniques are steeped in tradition.
Haute couture houses in Paris and Milan are listed in Nishiyama’s client books, and they’ve probably been attracted by the striking combination of an old art form and the fresh, modern patterns of the fabric. And as a beautiful company needs a beautiful website, Nishiyama’s online presence is just as simple and stylish as their silk. The site is made up of lots of blobby, silky, pebble-like shapes, and all the text is set out like a little poem. There’s even an interactive section dedicated entirely to the silk weaving process, made up of snippets of footage of spinning wheels and chunky wooden machinery weaving up and down.
Scrolling through the sections, you track the transformation of cotton ball cocoons into sleek rolls of dip-dyed silk. Living in the village of Ushikubi 800 years ago, you would have known exactly where your silk came from, and exactly how it came into being. It’s fantastic to see the Nishiyama company transform this old-fashioned and villagey mind-set into something so widely accessible, and which is executed in such a strikingly modern way.