Nepalese Tibetan Tiger rugs are in fashion and one could even say all the rage, but fads are not at all what captivated Yoji Hirota, founder of Tokyo’s Slow Tiger. “I fell in love with Tibetan Tiger rugs. I vividly remember the moment.” That’s not all he fell in love with on a trip to Nepal. He loved the crafts, the people, and how hard they work. Marketing Tiger rugs and donating a portion of the profits to the weavers is one way he feels he can help. Joining GoodWeave®, he says, is another way. “Child labor is a big problem. I want to help the children…the next generation!”
Tiger rugs are an integral part of the history of Tibetan weaving. Their origin is religious in nature. They were and still are for some, used as meditation rugs. Each rug is carefully handwoven and often the signature of the weaver is the face of the tiger on the rug, Yoji explains. It is this meaningful tradition Yoji wants to support while at the same time create a robust contribution to the weaving community’s economy. “It is unthinkable in Japan that there is such a gap between rich and poor as there is in Nepal,” he says and he hopes by introducing the high quality, handwoven rugs to Japanese buyers he can make a difference.
Slow Tiger’s wool and silk rugs come in a wide range of colors with orange being the most traditional. Yoji says what he likes most about the rugs in addition to their history, is the incredible process…the slow process. He reminds us that it takes one craftsman about one month to weave one rug. “Slow” as a principle is important to Yoji. He said it was a slow and deliberative process before he decided to embark on this project and he wants his clients to choose each rug slowly so the one they choose “makes sense” to them. He also wants the buyers to appreciate how long it takes for the artisans to make each rug.
Yoji, who calls himself “a pretty chill dude”, turned his back on a busy and lucrative career in project management with what he says was a “difficult hard schedule”. Now, he says, he spends his time trekking in Nepal, practicing kickboxing, listening to jazz and, of course, sharing his love of tiger rugs and his passion for helping the people of Nepal with others.
For more information visit: https://slowtiger.base.shop