When students at the Kyoto University of Art and Design exhibited their project, the Hanao Shoe, at the school in April, interest from the public was overwhelming. CHIMASKI, a jewelry company, quickly got in touch with the school to work out a partnership and make the students’ brand concept a reality. In partnership with the Kyoto University of Art and Design and countless other local contributors, Whole Love Kyoto was born.
While it began as a simple fashion project based on the singular Hanao Shoe design, the brand has already expanded their stock to include totes, beach sandals, T-shirts, and caps. Now, the Whole Love Kyoto company is paying homage to the city’s rich heritage while appealing to modern consumers, and is well on the way to becoming a globally recognized brand.
The original Hanao Shoe is quintessentially “Kyoto,” combining traditional design with modern taste. The shoes are made possible through the cooperation of shoemakers Kikunokonomi and Moon Star.
Kikunokonomi provides the ornamental sandal thong for the Hanao Shoe. They’re an Osaka-based company famous for their high-quality zori, the shoes often worn with the kimono. Moon Star is a shoe company that began 140 years ago in Kurume, Fukuoka. They will provide the basic casual shoe for the craftsmen to work with, since the Hanao Shoes are assembled into a finished product in Kyoto. Whole Love Kyoto states that the zori thong on the sandals is strictly for decoration and won’t affect the way the sneakers are worn.
Whole Love Kyoto was a sudden and unexpected success, and the company’s first pop-up opened July 10th at the Fujii Daimaru in Kyoto. Another is scheduled for October 10th at the Kyoto Handicraft Center, while a global launch at upmarket retailers overseas, like the Dover Street Market in London, is already planned for September.