Unraveling Chichibu's Traditional Crafts with Apparel Brand 'REINA IBUKA'
Unraveling Chichibu's Traditional Crafts with Apparel Brand 'REINA IBUKA'
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Located in the northwest of Saitama Prefecture, the Chichibu area is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Not only is it home to scenic spots like Mitsumine Shrine, Chichibu Shrine, Shibazakura in the Hitsujiyama Park, and Nagatoro's Iwadatami rock formations, it's also renowned for its traditional crafts.
In Chichibu, designer Reina Ibuka, who has honed her skills in Paris, runs an apparel brand called 'REINA IBUKA'. Drawing from her experiences in Paris, Ibuka utilizes Chichibu Silk in her designs, effectively showcasing its beauty.
Through Ibuka's narrative, this article aims to communicate the charm of Chichibu.
Reina Ibuka
Reina Ibuka

Originally from Chichibu city, Saitama Prefecture, Reina Ibuka attended Bunka Fashion College. After her graduation, she worked on lingerie brand planning before moving to France in 1997, drawn by the allure of French lingerie and lace. She traveled around Europe as an antique and vintage fabric buyer. Utilizing her experiences, she founded the innerwear brand maria-reina paris in 2000, combining lace, curtains, and tablecloths. Afterwards, intrigued by the haute couture, films, and culture from the 20s to 60s, she released Reina I. paris in 2009 that focused on the marriage of outerwear and lace. After living in France for 17 years, she returned to Japan in 2014.
Upon returning, she had initially thought of discontinuing her brand due to multiple reasons. However, coming into contact with the richness of Chichibu's nature, its people, and traditional silk weaving, she decided to start her fashion brand from scratch again in 2019. Even amidst the pandemic, she set-up her atelier with a view of the mountains beside her small medicinal herb garden in April 2021.
With the changing world and the evolving state of fashion, she continues her work from Chichibu, sharing what's important with the people around her.

Chichibu Silk & Sophie Hallette

How did your experiences as a fashion designer in Paris impact your career, Ibuka?
After graduating high school, I attended Bunka Fashion College, and then worked at a lingerie company in Tokyo after graduation. There, I was fascinated by lingerie and inspired to study lace and lingerie in their home country, which led me to move to France.

In Paris, I launched the lingerie brand I had dreamed of, starting with pieces made from upcycled antiques like lace and curtains that I found in flea markets.

In the midst of my activities, I wanted to handle authentic lace from the region, and I was able to purchase seasonal leftover lace from the well-established lace company from France, 'Sophie Hallette'.This brought me great joy and inspired the creation of my pieces.

Later, being charmed and stimulated by various Parisian cultures, apart from lingerie, I started to develop clothing as well.
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