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Far from the Madding Crowds: NAP in Japan

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Far from the Madding Crowds: NAP in Japan

September 3, 2012

Only in Japan would a workroom be called a "factory" yet sport William Morris wallpaper in its entryway. A former schoolhouse in the mountains of Japan is the workshop for Japanese bag and clothing maker Nap. Fifteen years ago, owner and designer (and dog lover) Makoto Kawai started making leather leashes and collars for his dogs; then branched out producing leather and cotton bags.

He gradually expanded his line to include clothing (think stylish workwear), but has remained in the countryside of Okayama, far from the fashion capital, Tokyo. Although the area is most noted for its fruit production, it also has many textile factories and has enjoyed a long history of denim and cotton production. Check out Gardenista for his latest addition: a gardening shop and cafe.

Photography by Yoko Inoue for Remodelista.

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Above: The entrance to the Nap workshop, which is known simply as "the Factory." Note the William Morris wallpaper.

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Above: Workers in a former schoolroom furnished with vintage pieces. A pile of Superior Labor bags waiting to be hand finished.

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Above: A workroom with a pattern-cutting table and rolls of fabric.

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Above: An employee hand finishes denim fabric.

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Above: A Superior Labor bag awaiting final touches.

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Above: An employee working on a denim bag.

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Above; A box of Superior Labor socks ready for shipping.

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Above: Employees' shoes and clothing hang in the rear of the workshop.

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Above: The entryway features a Superior Labor bag and a hat and jacket from the La Rosa de la Fabrica collection.

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Above: One of the two Nap dogs.

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Above: Nap owners Makoto Kawai and his wife Yoshimi, relaxing with coffee in their office with their other dog.

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Above: Entrance to the Nap office and factory.

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Above: Nap's office and main workshop are housed in a former school built in 1947. For more about Nap, see "A Gardening Shop Serves Lunch in the Mountains of Japan."

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