The fashion brand “tenbo” has a striking image of the adorable skull mark ‘Yomi-chan’. How did the high-profile brand, which debuted at Fashion Week Tokyo in 2015, find out about “IRO-POCHI” and why did they choose to use it? We interviewed to Tsuruta, head of tenbo Design Office and also a fashion designer.

How did you come to know about “IRO-POCHI”?

For the debut of Fashion Week Tokyo, we wanted to present fashion using ‘Braille’. We thought that by using Braille, an iconic universal image that everyone knows, it would be easier to communicate our brand concept to a wider audience. I already knew about “IRO-POCHI” from the December 2014 issue of the Asahi Shimbun, but when I learned about the content of Prof. Sagawa’s activities via the internet, I was convinced that this was what I was looking for. It was a perfect fit with our concept of fashion for everyone in the world calls “people design”. Meeting “IRO-POCHI” at about the same time as the launch of our brand was something of a fate.

How is the response from users?

All the clothes we work on have “IRO-POCHI” on them. We always introduce “IRO-POCHI” when we propose designs for clothes, and the first reaction we get from everyone is ‘it looks cute’ or ‘it’s interesting’. What was surprising was that clear-eyed people were more strongly interested in “IRO-POCHI”. This may seem contradictory, as the product was developed for visually impaired people, but it is a satisfactory response, as the first step in the goal of promoting the product is to get people interested in it, regardless of whether they are visually impaired or not.

What are the future prospects and possibilities for “IRO-POCHI”?

The “people design” (universal design) that we are working on is not yet well understood by the public. That is why it is very important to have horizontal connections with organizations and companies that share and support such efforts. In particular, it is more difficult to promote products that are attached to clothes, such as IROPOCHI, than those sold as individual products. I think it is more effective to approach them together with clothes. We on the apparel side need to be more proactive in communicating our message, and I think that is our mission. I hope we can work together to create a society in which “IROPOCHI” is a natural part of life.

launched “tenbo” in 2014. Debuted Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO2015-16AW. Designing clothing that is both functional and stylish, and making everyone happy by wearing them.