With Kyoto's traditional Nishijin textiles seeing a sharp drop in domestic demand in recent years, one of the industry's oldest businesses has set up shop in Europe in the hope of developing new markets overseas.

Masataka Hosoo, 44, the 12th generation owner of a family business dating back more than 300 years, has opened a showroom in Milan, his first overseas base, after spending several years developing innovative adaptations of traditional textiles for foreign tastes.

"I hope to introduce the world to the beauty of Nishijin fabrics," said Hosoo, who has used cloth customarily reserved for high-grade kimono and obi belts to make wallpaper and other interior design furnishings.