A practice born out of necessity


For most of Japan’s social history ordinary people have had very little in terms of material possessions. Consequently cloth, thread and clothing were all highly valued. So much so that it was common practice over the course of the 20th century that every single material scrap was invested back into – the already built up – layers of ‘collaged’ practical clothing. This simple technique and custom is known as boro and carries with it the histories and lives of numerous generations.

ba Boro Kimono, price on request, Gallery Kojima  Poor and often working in harsh conditions as manual labourers, practical clothing was essential and every garment and patch would go through the cycle of beginning as best clothes, gradually wearing their way down to items of pure utility. Boro, however, does not only apply to clothes; bedding or futons and any other textiles needed in the home would also have been born out of what we would consider scraps.   Untitled 2 Boro Jacket The signature indigo colour of boro has great appeal and is now finding a new life in Galleries across the world including Sri Threads in Brooklyn and Gallery Kojima in Tokyo. No.1160 Whilst on paper boro may sound like a distant memory from a poverty-ridden history, what evidence remains of boro (quite a lot due to the widespread nature of the practice) is today highly sought after and much imitated. Indeed the practice now serves as a source of inspiration for contemporary fashion designers such as KUON. While appreciating the history and culture of vintage clothes and textiles, KUON gives them a new lease of life through modern re-designs with a conscience. This is an extract from Grace Warde-Aldam's article in the current issue of Selvedge. [embed][/embed]    

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  • Linn on

    Wonderful! I look forward to reading your letter.

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