REI has an atelier in Nihonbashi, and everything from planning, design, and production is done in Japan.

We are committed to " lace and Japanese craftsmanship ", and with the help of Japanese lace craftsmen, we create original products in small batches.

With the remarkable development of machine technology, various types of lace are mass-produced at low cost around the world, and it is rare to see delicate and beautiful Japanese lace in the market.

Japan used to be said to be one of the world's leading lace-producing countries, but in recent years, production has been declining significantly, and many historic lace factories are disappearing.

Japan's race is disappearing.
Communicating unique charms is one of REI's themes in manufacturing.

racing history

The word " lace " is derived from the Latin LAQUEUE, which means a trapping net woven from ropes, ropes, etc., and from the ancient French lassis or lacis, or from the English word ``shibaru''. There are various theories, such as that it was born from the meaning Lacier.
In ancient times, the nets used for hunting and fishing, and the technique of kagari, which was used to make damaged clothing, eventually came to have a decorative meaning and developed into the beautiful lace we know. It is said that

Beginning with the reticera , which was invented by Venetian embroiderers around 1540 , needle lace and bobbin lace were industrialized in Italy and France, and eventually spread throughout Europe around the middle of the 16th century.

At that time, there were no machines yet, so of course the lace was made by hand.
It required a daunting amount of time and effort, skilled craftsmanship, and personnel.
It was a time when a single lace handkerchief could be listed on your inventory.

As a symbol of power and luxury, lace was loved by royalty and aristocrats.
Louis XIV, who made it a courtesy to wear gros point de Venise lace to nobles visiting his court , and Elizabeth I, who preferred a large circular collar called a phrase .
The extravagance of Marie Antoinette's love of racing was one of the triggers of the French Revolution, and it is said that the revolution almost burned out the race at that time.

Portrait of Queen Victoria in her Honiton lace wedding dress

On the left is an 1840 portrait of Queen Victoria in a Honiton lace wedding dress.
36 lace craftsmen spent a year and a half creating this masterpiece, and as you can see in the photo on the right, the Queen wore this beautiful lace and veil on her 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

It is said that Queen Victoria's wedding dress sparked the tradition of using white for bridal gowns, which until then had been the mainstream of colored dresses.

With the industrial revolution that began in the 18th century, mechanization progressed and it became possible to mass-produce lace with complex patterns at low cost. I was.

In 1813, John River created the River Race machine, which is the prototype of today's race. Twenty years later, the embroidery lace machine was also invented.

japan and race

The first lace was made in Japan in the 5th year of the Meiji era.
The manufacture of drone work was first reported by a foreign merchant residing in Yokohama.

At that time, Japan was still in the era of kimono.
As part of measures against Europeanization, some upper-class ladies in Rokumeikan enjoyed evening parties in embroidered and lace dresses, but civilization was still far away, and most citizens wore kimonos.

However, it seems that the culture of incorporating lace into clothing gradually began to permeate in the latter half of the Meiji era, when lace was used for kimono undergarments and half-collars, and hand-knitted shawls were worn.

Ukiyo-e depicting a ball at Rokumeikan Ukiyo-e depicting a ball at Rokumeikan

A public racing school was established by the Japanese government and Tokyo Prefecture (now Tokyo), and it was in 1880 that Mrs. Smith, an English teacher, began teaching Honiton racing .

The first hand-made lace factory was built in Yokohama, and in Niigata, batten lace was made as a side job in the winter. will suffer devastating damage.

It was at the end of the Taisho era (1912-1926) that racing machines were introduced to Japan and the mechanical racing industry developed in earnest.
After World War II, in the 1950s, the scale of the company expanded rapidly in response to the trend of rapid economic growth, and the balance between imports and exports was reversed.

In the 1950s, it became a common sight to see many women wearing all-lace clothes when walking down the street, and lace became established as a fashion item for women.

Race type

There are various classification methods for lace, and there are actually 180 kinds of names, such as the country, people, regions, techniques and materials that were made.
Most of today's laces are made by machines, but hand-made laces, so-called antique laces, can be broadly divided into two types: bobbin laces and needlepoint laces.

■ Needlepoint Race

A technique of embroidering with a needle and thread, using parchment or paper instead of fabric.
It is said to have originated in Venice, Italy, but Toshodaiji Temple in Japan also has a collection of lace that was brought over from the Tang dynasty. This is said to be the world's oldest needle lace and is designated as a national treasure.

■ Bobbin lace

It is a technique in which many threads are wound around a bobbin and twisted together to create a pattern. It is also called pillow lace because the work is done while pinning it on a pillow.
Bobbin lace has a long history, and bobbin laces made around the 3rd and 4th centuries have been excavated together with bobbins from ancient Egyptian ruins.

Machine laces are typical and are made from embroidery machines, river machines, Russell machines, and torsion machines.

Embroidered lace

The fabric is embroidered with an embroidery lace machine.
Various types of embroidered lace are made depending on the fabric to be embroidered and the processing method.
The following are typical types of lace made with embroidery lace machines.

・Embroidered lace <br>It is also called cotton lace, which is embroidered on the fabric. There are all-over laces that are embroidered on the entire fabric, border laces that are embroidered on only one side of the fabric, and bowler laces that are embroidered along the holes while making holes in the fabric.

・Chemical lace <br>This lace is made by embroidering a vinylon fabric that dissolves in hot water, then melting the fabric to leave only the embroidery thread. In the old days, the fabric was melted by a chemical process, hence the name "chemical" lace.

・Tulle lace Tulle with embroidery.
The city of Tulle in the suburbs of Paris, France is the origin of the name.
It is a delicate and delicate lace that is often used for wedding dresses and veils.

River lace

Leaver lace, which is made by twisting thin threads to create complex patterns, is called the "queen of lace" because of its delicate beauty. Because it is difficult to operate the machine and mass production is difficult, it is a rare and expensive race.
The leaver race machine invented by John River in 1813 is no longer manufactured, and only a limited number of manufacturers own the machine and inherit the traditional technology.

Clooney lace

The race of the world's oldest lace maker "Clooney Lace Company" which exists in the suburbs of Nottingham, England. It is characterized by a plump dot called a lost motion spot.

Russell lace

It is a lace woven with a raschel knitting machine.
It was originally conceived to make high-quality river lace at a low cost, but in recent years rapid technological development has made it possible to create delicate and high-quality raschel lace.

Torsion lace

Mechanized bobbin lace that is said to have been used to decorate collars and sleeves among royalty and aristocrats in the Middle Ages. A jacquard device is used to create the pattern while rotating the bobbin.
A narrow lace that is used for a wide range of purposes, such as stitching between fabrics, edging, and ribbons.