Local dyer in Kiryu, Gunma Pref. gives flawed T-shirts a new life

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuri Hiramoto, the president of Kirisen, holds a Bshirt.

KIRYU, Gunma — Kirisen, a long-established dyeing company in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, is giving T-shirts that were blemished or stained during the dyeing process a new life by freshly dying them on its own.

Dyers remove glue left on the fabric when they dye T-shirts, but this process sometimes blemishes or stains the shirts. In the past, Kirisen had to discard blemished shirts and pay for them themselves. However, Yuri Hiramoto, 36, the fourth-generation president of the company, wondered if she could make the blemishes less noticeable, giving them a new lease on life. She decided to freshly dye T-shirts that would have otherwise been discarded, calling them Bshirts, a portmanteau of T-shirt and B-grade.

Roughly 200 Bshirts were displayed at an exhibition and sale held on Aug. 27 and 28 at the Pensee Gallery in Kiryu. They were dyed using a technique called kago-some basket dyeing, in which white T-shirts are dyed in a metallic basket. The technique gave the shirts new patterns of black, gray and blue. The Bshirts cost 3,300 yen, including tax.

“A serious issue facing the apparel industry is the large amount of discarded unsold clothes. I would like to help resolve that issue as a dyer,” Hiramoto said.