Sudō Reiko was born in Ishioka City in Ibaraki Prefecture. Her interest in textiles began in childhood when she was mesmerized by the colourful, patterned kimono fabrics unrolled for her grandparents by a visiting kimono merchant every spring and autumn. Inspired by kimono, Sudō studied at Musashino Art University and, after graduating, stayed on to work as a textile laboratory assistant. In the early 1980s, she met and studied under the textile planner Arai Jun’ichi (1932–2017), who was well-known for his innovative textiles amongst fashion designers such as Miyake Issei of Issey Miyake and Kawakubo Rei of Comme des Garçons. With a shared aim of pursuing textile innovation by combining Japanese craft traditions and modern technology, Sudō and Arai established Nuno (meaning ‘fabric’ in Japanese), a small textiles atelier in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, where it is still based. In 1987, Arai took a step back from the company and Sudō became Nuno’s Design Director.