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Obsessed with finding the perfect sweatshirt?

Loopwheel is a way of knitting cotton yarns with a special loopwheel machine. The loopwheel slow-weaving machines (almost extinct, found in WAKAYAMA, Japan) knit premium-quality cotton fabric. "The most comfortable sweatshirt on the planet" as the mill aspires to, could not be produced without the highly skilled craftsmen who can operate the machines. It requires skills as sensitive as tuning musical instruments. Having an extensive experience in knitting machines and sewing, the craftsmen are proud of their "Made in Japan" sweatshirts.

Until the mid-1960's, the loopwheel knitting machine was the most common way to produce sweatshirt fabric. The most important characteristic of the resulting fabric is "softness". As the closest article of clothing to the human skin, and as an activewear, it was ideal for sweatshirts and T-shirts as it could be washed over and over again without losing its signature feel. However, with the advent of mass production and mass consumption of clothing, the loopwheel knitting machine was gradually phased out in favour of a more efficient production system. The loopwheel can only produce at a rate of 1 metre of tube-knit fabric per hour, and in addition, it requires constant adjustment of the machine by the skilled craftsman. Many factories have switched to the latest computerised knitting machines.

Today, there are about 400 loopwheel machines in Wakayama, of which about 200 are in operation. The production process, which requires the skills of experienced workers (knitting, repair, maintenance, etc.), could not be described as efficient but there is a dedicated approach to manufacturing here. Sweatshirts and T-shirts are the first layer of clothing that we wear every day, and the best process of material, design, pattern and sewing is used to make them comfortable. The sweatshirts made before the 60's are vintage items and are loved throughout the ages. These sweatshirts are made on a loom and will last for many years without any wear and tear, which means that it can be passed on to the next generation. And to achieve it, the production site must be preserved for the future. This is the reason why the Japanese craftsmen do not stop making "the most authentic sweatshirts in the universe".

Mirai Group Japan is here to help you identify and realise your business opportunities. We find Japan's unique products and services as well as market gaps for you to explore in Japan to offer you the quickest access and the best chance for your success.

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