In Kyoto, it is easier to find independent makers than in Tokyo, or in fact, than anywhere else I know. There are lots of crafters' ateliers and select shops that sell locally produced clothes and crafts.
One of such places is Tezomeya, a dyer's atelier and shop at the heart of the city. I have found their online shop several years ago by chance, when I was doing some research on organic cotton and decided that I need an organic cotton T-shirt myself. I became truly excited when I realized that they dye those T-shirts with traditional Japanese natural dyes. All of their colors are based on what Japanese people have been wearing for hundreds of years (some were only accessible to noble or rich people in the old days). Their products are not cheap, or I should say, their products are fairly priced, but I went ahead and ordered one.
My first purchase was a long-sleeve indigo-dyed T-shirt. It's thick and warm, and very comfortable.
A couple of years ago, while I was traveling, I remembered about their shop and decided to drop by. They are located on the second floor of a small building, a little out of the way from the main shopping area. I wanted to look at the colors in person, and wanted to pick the right fitted size for me. This time, I decided on Kakishibu (persimon dye) color. In Japan, you can find indigo-dyed T-shirts here and there, but Kakishibu one is pretty rare. It smells like (relaxing but strong) ash, and the color faded quite a bit over time, while the fabric became softer.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that their atelier/shop was actually on the same street as our shop (before we moved a couple of weeks ago), and it was on my way to work. Naturally, I bought another indigo one, this time, a short sleeved one.
The fabric of this T-shirts is reversed and biased jersey, and does not stretch very much. It's sturdy and endures many years' of wears.
(On the front is indigo-dyed one, and the brownish one is very faded Kakishibu. It was burned dark brown color before.)
What I like about them even more is that they over-dye your old Tezomeya T-shirts for free, as any times as needed (and it doesn't have to be the same color). It's a small operation of a few people, so sometimes it takes months until you get your T-shirts back, but that's not a big deal. Slow fashion, right? It's like, you grow old with your T-shirts, and occasionally, they take care of you and your clothes. They are like your partner, connected through your T-shirts.
The idea fascinates me.
I already have enough, so from now on, I'll just return to them with my worn-out cotton tees many many times, I expect.
(On behind is my newest T-shirts, and in front is the oldest one I own. It used to be the same/similar color!)