In 1875, when Arthur Lasenby Liberty, the son of a draper, founded his eponymous London emporium of imported goods from the East, he embarked on what was to become a long relationship with Japanese culture.

“Arthur and his wife Emma took a trip to Japan in 1889,” says Ffion Griffith, Senior Designer for Liberty Fabrics. “And that trip deepened their love for the country’s unparalleled artisanship and creative heritage.”

Back then, the store’s objets d’art included fabrics from Japan and drew customers fascinated by the exoticism of Japonisme and other Asian influences on 19th-century decorative arts. Today, as one of the U.K.’s most famous textile designers and department stores, Liberty not only houses many Japanese brands, but it also has its own Tokyo-based team.