The boro & the sashiko: two ancestral crafts to rediscover

Jeans patched boro sashiko

Pocket-Up is our answer to fast fashion. We know that thousands of clothes end up in landfills each day, so at Pocket-Up, we want to propose you garments that last in time. But sometimes, little accidents happened, and a hitch will appear on your favorite pants (thanks to your bike for example!). As does the Kintsugi with objects, Japanese people created beautiful crafts to repair their clothes, this will be our discovery of the day.

A little history

Few centuries ago, in Japan, clothing fabrics were really rare and valuable. Cotton couldn’t be cultivated everywhere due to the climate and silk was reserved for the upper class. So women from the rural population were cultivating hemp during in-between seasons, and prepared the fiber, spinned it, waved it and dyed it. The quantity was limited and the fabric created was precious. It was used for clothes, but also underwear and bedding. This fabric was necessary to survive the cold winters, therefore it was as valuable as food or money.
So of course, when clothes started to fall apart, or were ripped, throwing them away was not an option. Garments were repatched, resewn, redyed, and bring back to life! It was normal for a garment to be passed on through different generations and each pieces of fabric was used until its complete end. When its condition was too bad to be used for garment, it was then repurposed to fill in the mattress.

Boro jacket indigo sashiko
Boro jacket indigo sashiko
Boro jacket indigo sashiko

Photo by Keisuke Fukamizu

The Boro referred to this fabric that has been repatched multiple times and that was worn by the farmers population. Those garments started to disappear in the modern post-war area, as they were the symbol of poor living conditions. Nobody found any interest in preserving those garments except one man: Chuzaburo Tanaka, that spent is life collecting and preserving them. They are now considered as “Important Tangible Cultural Properties” and we can rediscover their beauty.

I want boro garments to not just be viewed as old artifacts, but as a valuable discovery that we can incorporate into our own lives.

Amuse Museum

And Sashiko then?

Sashiko came to complete the Boro. It’s an embroidery technique that is done after the fabric has been patched. The Sashiko appeared because it brings more strength to the fabric, and it isole better from the cold. It became also decorative and with various patterns; geometrical, inspired by nature, religion,… that were transmitted from one generation to another.

Sashiko jacket japan historical indigo
Sashiko jacket japan historical indigo

Photo by The Metropolitan Museum

And now?

We can get inspired by those old techniques, and bring back this caring for clothes. Mending our clothes is a beautiful way to extend their life. It can be done either by handwork or repatched with a sewing machine. It brings beauty and uniqueness in our wardrobe.

What do you think about Boro and Sashiko? Would you like to learn more about it, or be inspired by them? Let us know in the comments.

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