The Origin of the Gift Tie “Altair”

The challenge of ‘cool biz’.

The Origin of the “Altair” gift tie.

The half-life of a tie maker.


The history of FUJIO URAWA dates back to the founding of the tie company Altair. It’s a story about Ueno right after World War II. Tie craftsman “FUJIO URAWA” chose to live as a tie craftsman at the age of 23. His life began as a disciple of a master tie craftsman. At the age of 30, he gains independence by mastering the technique of tie making.

Business wasn’t just good – it was great. He couldn’t make ties fast enough to keep up with demand. However, The 1990s recession and the announcement of the “Cool Biz” movement had a profound effect on craftsmen throughout Japan. Bankruptcy and hard times came upon most, and one young man in particular came along, unable to pass on his skills and passion for making custom neckties.

A young man with a passion, captivated by the elegance of kimono silk.


The founder of Altair, Fumimasa Ozaki, started his design business after graduating from university in 2013. In April 2016, in his seemingly endless pursuit of beauty, Fumimasa was struck by the pure beauty of kimono fabric. His mind awash with beautiful silk filled with culture and history, he came upon an evercommon but important sight: a businessman waiting for the subway. The urge to create beauty clicked in his mind, and the dream became real: he would combine the beauty of kimonos with the elegance of a businessman’s necktie.

I searched for a craftsman who could not only make a beautiful tie – no, a tie with beauty that surpasses even my own imagination. A craftsman that could take my dreams and weave them into reality. Deep, deep in the mountains surrounding Tokyo, I happened upon a business owner who could answer my plight: he said he would make an introduction to such a man. That man’s name was Fujio Urawa.

The day the tie became a woman’s


FUJIO URAWA’s skills were beyond exceptional; they were unique. He could create beautiful pieces of art from any kind of fabric he put his hands upon. After years of discussion, we finally decided upon a necktie that would achieve our goal. The subtle yet powerfully elegant ingredients that create kimonos would also bring our neckties to life.

With the advice of the chairman of a certain business hotel, Fumimasa searched for a way to offer his products to women with good taste and a desire for class. It was then that he realized two things. 1.) Women want to support someone who really cares about them. 2.) Men are often lacking in options when they find they want to be noticed. It was here that this new culture of empowering women to express their love and affectionate to others through hand-crafted ties was born.

The tie has officially left the men’s department.

Upon researching ties as gifts, I was met with a sloppy and unsatisfying industry. Department stores left items laid out on desks and strewn about the store, to be touched and handled by passerbys without a care in the world. Online stores were seemingly just as bad- nickle and diming patrons for even a simple gift box: awkward, vertical ‘gift’ boxes that were as unpleasant to see as they were to hold. Salespeople promoted ‘cute’ and ‘flashy’ ties to anyone willing to listen. Sure, there were plenty of patterns available, easily accessed at just about any store I came across- and just as easily forgotten as soon as you looked the other way. Those ties were plentiful, cheap, and emotionless.

70% percent of Altair’s tie customers are women. Why, you may ask? The fruits of our labor speak for us: we make winning ties that really enhance the style of the wearer. A variety of unique yet tasteful colors, gift boxes that really speak to you, and above all the highest-quality kimono silk are what make Altair ties a cut above the rest. Ties so handsome, he may even want to sport a suit in the middle of summer.

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