OSAKA, Japan—At first glance, tire treads and high fashion would appear to be completely incongruous, but Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. likes to think otherwise.
The tire maker has incorporated some of the firm's more distinctive tread patterns into “yukata,” traditional kimono-style Japanese summer dress.
“By transposing the originality of tires—normally thought of as a simple round, black object, into the feminine world of color dimensions apart—we have created another unique touch point distinctive of Toyo Tires,” the company said recently in presenting the designs.
Toyo said it plans to use the cloth and yukuta at upcoming company events as part of its effort to “provide content and transmit information that shines a spotlight on our unique presence.”
The tread patterns used for the cloth tailored into yukata are from the Proxes R1R, Open Country M/T and Nanoenergy 0 tires, all of which are known for their distinct tread designs. Such designs—or the face of the tire—are realized through a sophisticated level of technical prowess that ensures the tire's functionality, Toyo said.
In producing these designs, a traditional Japanese dyeing technique was used to dye three types of original cloth that were tailored into cool, refreshing kimono designs.
“By combining the aesthetic quality of our tread designs, which supports the technical strength of our company's tire development, with the “Edo Yukata” dying techniques of traditional craftsmen, we achieved original content that can be utilized not just in Japan but globally as well,” Toyo said.
This is not the first time a tire company has sought to blend tread designs with fashion. Pirelli & C. S.p.A. commissioned gowns, furs and jewelry based on its distinctive P7 tread pattern in 1985 and 1987 for use in its iconic calendar.
Toyo describes the three tires on which the yukata designs are based:
Proxes R1R—a motorsports tire used widely in drifting, its unique arrowhead grooves deliver a high degree of control on wet surfaces.
Open Country M/T—sold primarily in North America for off-road enthusiasts, this mud-terrain tire's tread offers superior traction and durability over muddy and rocky terrain.
Nanoenergy 0—an aftermarket consumer tire optimized for low rolling resistance, wet grip performance and reduced noise generation; it's being used increasingly on electric vehicles.