photo by Kei Maeda



About kitta

The story of kitta begins in 1998, when the director, Yuko Kitta, started making clothing using natural dyeing techniques. In 2011, she established an atelier in Okinawa, after working in Tokyo, Hyogo Prefecture, and Chiba.At present, she (together with other kitta employees) is engaged in the production of art pieces, installations and clothing with the idea of shepherding objects from their birth to their return to the earth as a central motivating concept.
The dyes used by kitta are hand-produced using mainly the Ryukyu indigo we grow ourselves and the leaves, branches, bark and roots of various Okinawan plants. Heating via flame and fermentation are also important techniques in our dyeing process. In addition, so that the clothes kitta produces can be worn for long periods, we also redye kitta products when colors fade.



About kitta

aabi is a project for self-supporting dye production taking Ryukyu indigo as a starting point, and is a key part of kitta's production process. Following traditional Okinawan methods, we are engaged in the cultivation of Ryukyu indigo. Further, we have an ongoing process of research on the exploration of the possibilities of plants in a variety of forms, such as the extraction of pigments and colors for use in painting from plant materials.



The process of preparing Ryukyu indigo usually begins on June 23, the Okinawan day for remembrance of the dead, and proceeds for about half a month. The word “indigo” does not refer to a single plant, but rather to a compound found within various plants, including the Okinawan indigo (Acanthaceae), dyer’s knotweed frequently cultivated in mainland Japan (Polygonaceae), the Indian indigo found widely across Asia (Fabaceae), and woad (Brassicaceae). These images introduce a dye which has been produced in Okinawa since ancient times: doroai. Each year, around the end of the rainy season, we harvest around 400kg of Ryukyu indigo and steep it in a 3m diameter basin filled with water. The basin is covered and stone weights placed on top, and after 50-55 hours of waiting a blue film forms on the water’s surface: this is the indigo pigment. After removing the residue of the leaves and adding the proper amount of quicklime, several people aerate the liquid by stirring it; after a bit less than an hour, the indigo pigment solidifies and settles to the bottom of the basin. This precipitate is called doroai. The doroai is put into bottles, fermented, and used for dyeing. At kitta, we use it as the base for producing green, blue, and purple colors.

©2020 kitta.