TOPArt & CultureFashion & BeautyJ+B Brings Japanese Businesses to Brooklyn

J+B Brings Japanese Businesses to Brooklyn

An artistic union of Japanese aesthetics and discerning Brooklyn sensibilities come together in harmony in the Own Your Beauty Award

By Brooke Jackson

Situated within the urban confines of Park Slope, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, lies J+B, an organization and cross-cultural creative hub which is home to Japanese artisanship in the form of art, crafts and cultural exchange events.

J+B’s simple mission is accurately reflected in its own unembroidered name — “J” literally standing for Japan and “B” for Brooklyn — highlighting the organization’s simple and design-centric concept.

Nourishing Relationships

A collaboration between Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo (BBFL) and nonprofit J-Collabo, J+B was established in 2008 with the intention of collaborating with Brooklyn and Japanese-based businesses and curating selections of sustainable lifestyle products for both American and Japanese markets.

The collaboration was created, ostensibly, to raise local awareness of Japanese art, design and culture throughout New York City and beyond, through the intertwining of two countries, people, culture and business.

Own Your Beauty Award

At the center of Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo’s mission is its values and ongoing efforts towards being eco-conscious and sustainable, with the four defining principles being: “Much Love Local,” “Less is More,” “Inspired by Nature” and “Make a Difference.” The Own Your Beauty Award began with the goals of encouraging people to live beautifully, healthily and freely and primarily centers around American and Japanese beauty and wellness-related products which follow the qualifying criteria of being handcrafted, high quality and locally made with natural and environmentally friendly materials.

Based on the aforementioned criteria, Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo nominates, for the Own Your Beauty Award, carefully selected items from beauty-related products from Japan and the United States. Nominated products will have the opportunity to be exhibited and sold in Brooklyn for a period of three months — spanning from April to June 2022. In addition to the physical exhibition, selected products will also be displayed virtually via an online gallery in both Japanese and English. The award was created with the intention of sharing and showcasing Japanese and American beauty and living products with the rest of the world.

Brooklyn’s Very Own J+B STORE

In 2014, the J+B STORE opened its doors and is essentially a showroom that features contemporary products inspired by traditional Japanese design and craftsmanship, showcasing handcrafted items produced by local artisans.

Additionally, the J+B Project, a cross-cultural platform that aims to strengthen cultural ties between the United States and Japan, is also located on the Park Slope site. Members of this project reside in Japan and the United States and they research, develop and test market new ideas before presenting them to the wider public.

The Park Slope site also hosts a retail section, a Japanese grocery store, a café and lounge area, a hair and nail salon, a co-working space and three floors for traditional and contemporary cultural exchange events held throughout the year, including Japanese tea ceremony, geisha face-painting demonstrations and art exhibitions. Recent events held on-site include artist Craig Anthony Miller’s 2021 exhibition titled, “Totem Upflow,” ‘Brooklyn by Design’ gallery and a holiday shopping expo featuring NYC artists and designers.

A number of these events were also able to be attended virtually by guests visiting from afar and are still accessible online.

For more information please visit the J+B website.

Own Your Beauty Award: TW Picks

1. Engi Kumiko ENJU by Kawashima Tategu CO., Ltd.

Ideal for interior design enthusiasts, Kawashima Tategu’s Enju series of decorative products features Japan’s age-old kumikozaiku woodwork technique, a flower-like pattern which is created by intricately hand scraping, cutting and bending wood at the precision level of 0.01 mm. The geometric design involved can be traced back to the Asuka Period (592-710 A.D.) and represents various luck-bestowing signs such as wish-granting and the warding off of evil. This historic craft has been passed down from one generation of artisans to the next and is now being carried on and fulfilled by skillful woodworkers at Kawashima Tategu which, this year, celebrates its 89th year.

Buy here.

2. SISUI hai by SanYoshi Lacquerware Co., Ltd.

If you’re on the lookout for unique and eco-friendly receptacles, then Aizu-based SanYoshi Lacquerware Co., Ltd’s biodegradable plastic Japanese sake cups are just the ticket. The firm’s beautiful cups are coated with urushi lacquer, a natural resin material, which is applied using a 400-year-old technique specific to the Aizu region which is located in Fukushima Prefecture and is known as one of Japan’s best sake-making areas. The cups’ vibrant colors, striking designs and innovative materials are a true fusion of tradition and modern-day aesthetics while also preserving the production and distribution of traditional Japanese lacquerware.

Buy here.

3. Brooklyn Laundreel by Time and Garden Co., Ltd.

Time and Garden comes in handy. Brooklyn Laundreel is an indoor hanging belt which is a convenient and space-efficient alternative to both conventional clothes hanging products and methods. Named after New York City’s very own Brooklyn Bridge, the belt’s rounded edges and simple form pull from the beloved aesthetics of Japanese craft and design. The product is wall mountable and can be stretched up to four meters, making it ideal for homes of any space and size.

Buy here.

4. Kimono Bags by Geisha & Co.

For traditional, practical and downright gorgeous Japanese artisanship look no further than Geisha & Co.’s handcrafted kimono bags. The firm reuses portions of the elegant uchikake kimono, a silk kimono made to be worn for weddings and other formal and traditional events. The vibrant colors and eye-catching patterns are considered signs of good fortune, prosperity and connect the wearer to moments of joy and happiness. As no two kimono used are alike, each bag is distinct in color and design and are also customizable upon request.

Buy here.


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