March 15, 2016

Marbling is a technique that has always been very appealing because each print is a unique monotype. And like many artforms, there are many different methods, each with their own set of history, traditions and cultures. For a brand like Onitsuka Tiger, which is pretty much one of the oldest shoe companies in Japan (and with a history dating back to 1949), it’s no surprise that they have the deepest and utmost respect for tradition. This year, Onitsuka Tiger has released a new collection of shoes that bear the beautiful artwork born out of the traditional Japanese technique, suminigashi. It’s a method that is believed to be the oldest form of marbling, stretching back to over 1,000 years. Suminagashi, which literally means “ink-floating”, involves dropping ink or pigments into a viscous solution (usually water with a layer of oil on it) and later blowing the surface to create the design. Alternatively, the artist can also create the swirls using fan, a straw, a split piece of bamboo or a piece of human hair until the entire surface of the water is filled with concentric rings. Once that is done, the design is then transferred onto the canvas of two of Onitsuka Tiger’s silhouettes, the MEXICO 66 and APPIAN. The result? A comfortable pair of shoes donning the work of great traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Watch the entire process here:

The Suminagashi Collection by Onitsuka Tiger, $189. Available in four colours at Onitsuka Tiger stores.