At Velarof, Japanese culture and heritage play an integral part in our design process. From Shiga Prefecture and Lake Biwa to kikomonyo patterns and the crest of the noble Sasa Ryuji clan, we source inspiration from a variety of Japanese landmarks, motifs and historic emblems.
And our designs are all the more detailed for it. Not only does looking toward Japanese style, innovations and ancient history enrich our designs to make them more playful and unique, but it also pays tribute to the dual heritage of our brand. Our eclectic underwear designs are also made in Tokyo.
It’s for this reason that the five seasonal festivals in Japan play a key role in our calenders. And this week, on Thursday 7th July, we’ll be marking Tanabata—also known as the Star Festival.
Taking place every year on the 7th day of the 7th month, Tanabata is a beautifully optimistic festival infused with hope. Rooted in romantic Chinese legend, it tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, Hikoboshi and Princess Orihime. While the humble cattle farmer and daughter of the God of the Sky were separated by the Heavenly River, they would meet once a year—on the 7th day of the 7th month. This is represented by Altair and Vega, two twin stars that meet in the sky on this very night.
It should come as no surprise then that every year, on Tanabata, we look up at the stars to appreciate their immense beauty and make a wish. In Japan, the best spot for doing this is on Amami Oshima island or Achi village, Nagano in mainland Japan.
In celebration of Tanabata, a variety of vibrant festivals are held and natives across the country carry out various customs. One of the most popular traditions is to write your wishes on a piece of colourful paper, called Tanzaku in Japan, and hang it on a specially erected bamboo tree. By doing so, it’s believed that your wishes are more likely to come true.
While we can’t guarantee that this will happen, we can’t help but get carried away by dreaming of our own wishes. This year, we’ll be looking at the stars in celebration while making a wish to see the Milky Way in Achi, Nagano one Tanabata day.
Who knows, maybe next year our wish might just come true.
What will you wish for this Tanabata?