Updated tabi socks soothe feet Japanese-style
After seemingly taking modern fashion as far as it can possibly go, many in Japan are looking back to traditional styles of clothing. Take these distinctive "tabi" socks, for example, updated with pleasing colors and attractive patterns.
Tabi are a type of socks unique to Japan, commonly worn with kimono and sandals.
Most modern Japanese no longer wear tabi, prefering western-style tube socks (for men) or some variation of stockings or pantyhose (for women).
Tabi are making a comeback with both sexes, however, thanks to the efforts of chief designer Katsuji Wakisaka of Kyoto-based clothier Sou Sou.
Wakisaka made a name for himself in the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s as a designer with Marimekko, a textile company from Finland.
The tabi sold by Sou Sou feature a variety of patterns, some brightly colored and others more conservative - still quite different from traditional plain white tabi. They do share tabi's distinguishing feature, however - the split between the big toe and the other four.
The look may strike some as odd but tabi fans know a good thing when they're wearing it. In fact, a form of tabi are still worn by construction workers who need to keep their grip and balance when working on exposed beams and tilted roofs.
Sou Sou's tabi collection comes in men's and women's sizes, and cost 525 yen (about $5) per pair. Order online at the Sou Sou net shop or browse the major Japanese department stores next time you're in Japan for business or pleasure.
According to one satisfied customer, "Sou Sou products are one of the things that make me glad to be Japanese. This is one company that knows the value of pampering one's feet." (via Intl Herald Tribune)