Sashiko (stitching and quilting) and Boro (mending) are two ancient Japanese techniques for prolonging the life of workwear - jackets, trousers or tops.
Primarily used by farm or fishing families, Sashiko is a combination of decorative stitching, and quilting. Sashiko was probably invented sometime during the Edo period (1615–1868), with it being a well documented practice by the Meiji period (1868–1912).
In Japanese ‘Sashiko’ translates to ‘little stabs’ - a simple running stitch that makes up the geometric designs and all over patterns this art form is known for.
Sashiko and Boro are considered folk textiles; both being primarily utilized by the Japanese lower class. Industrialized weaving and fabric production did not come to Japan until the the late 1800’s. This meant that all household fabric had to either be purchased from overseas, which was very expensive, or had to be grown, processed, spun, dyed and woven at home.
Since fabric was such an expensive and sought after material, these coats were patched and quilted with a variety of cloth scraps available to the families, leading to these unintentional patchwork designs.
The primary dyed used during this time period in Japan was Indigo, hence the rich dark blue hue seen in most of these garments. Indigo grows as a plant, is then harvested, and fermented to create dye baths. It's really wonderful to see this textiles celebrated once again!
Jewel and me at the amazing One Night for One Drop benefit in Vegas. Her performance and the Circ du Soleil cast were incredible!
Check out more about the amazing One Night for One Drop mission here!