April 2023

UNIQLO, a global fast fashion retailer from Japan, is beginning to recycle old clothes and make them into new products. But some Japanese designers are doing something on a more personal and traditional level to help eliminate fashion waste. They have begun to look into grandparents' closets for opportunities to create gorgeous new clothing out of garments that have seen better days. Instead of letting beautiful old kimonos that have been “sleeping” go to waste, designers are “waking up” older fabric with colorful designs to make dresses, suits, and even handbags that meet the needs of today’s consumers. It is a fashion statement that has inspired many pieces on the runways of Milan, Paris, New York, and LA. Some designers are even taking it a step further and making streetwear out of kimonos! By upcycling, they’re giving new life to fabric that could have gone to landfills, and by using traditional techniques they’re keeping the craftsmanship of the kimono alive. Another trend coming out of Japan is fashion made with Washi paper. Washi is a traditional Japanese paper known for its durability, strength, and beauty. It's being used in innovative ways that promote sustainability and a circular economy to reduce waste. Designers are creating unique and sustainable clothing pieces from the soft, breathable, and lightweight paper. And the great news is that because it is made from tree bark, it's biodegradable. This means it can be easily recycled at the end of its life. Some fashion companies are not only designing Washi clothes, but also composting them to provide nutrients to the soil, improving plant growth and yield. The resulting produce is then used in their restaurants. By choosing clothing made of more sustainable materials, we can all do our part to protect the environment and ensure a better world for future generations. So, next time you’re thinking about buying new clothes, consider taking a look at second-hand shops or making your own clothes. Who knows - maybe you’ll even be inspired by traditional clothing like the kimono, and create something truly unique. Old kimono Fabric Upcycled kimono: Tokyokaleidoscope Traditional Washi production and sustainable. Washi Jeans by Hiro Yoshikawa Washi paper has been part of Japanese culture for centuries. Today, new technology and growing demand for sustainable garments has seen a revival of interest in using this amazing product. Brands like Issey Miyake, Tod’s, and others have used Washi to make clothing, shoes, and outdoor gear.