Aizu Cotton

Aizu is a traditional Japanese plain woven cotton fabric that we incorporate into each seasonal Pilgrim collection, due to its durable nature and the intentionality and tradition that go into creating it.  Aizu is woven by skilled craftsmen in the westernmost region of the Fukushima Prefecture, about 200 miles northwest of Tokyo. The weaving process has been handed down through generations, dating back to the Edo Period in Japan.

The characteristics of Aizu reflect the harsh extremities of its region, which experiences frigid winters and sweltering summers. Aizu cotton has a hearty yet soft textured hand feel and excellent sweat-absorbing and heat-retaining properties, and can be easily worn all year around. Traditionally, Aizu cotton was used to make workwear, as it is resistant to shrinkage and is low maintenance to clean.

We work closely with the Harayama Textile Factory in Aizuwakamatsu, a small family run factory that has been in operation for 120 years.  Our production team visited the factory in order to witness first hand the process of making Aizu cotton fabric. First, the yarn is twisted and made into a skein; then dyed, starched, and sun dried. From there, the yarn is woven through the warp and the weft, then threaded through needles by an expert weaver. The weaver then gently works with the electric loom and watches over it. From start to finish, it is a labor of love, care and intentionality, passing through the hands of craftspeople each step of the way.