15.2.15

| Sewing | Boro Behaviour


The concept of 'Boro' style is something that we have mentioned a few times last year when we spoke about one of our favourite Japanese brands Kapital Denim (see HERE) and when we spoke of sashiko mending techniques (see HERE).

Lately 'Boro style' seems to have piqued the interest of global Japanese menswear aficionados with the likes of VISVIM and Watanabe Junya exploring their roots.

When Japanese talk about 'Boro' things. They often refer to things that have been used so they are falling apart and worn out. You can find a boro house (like the one in Totoro), a boro record player etc. Boro in terms of fabric items dates back to around the 17th century when the poorer citizens would stitch together rags of cloth to make blankets and use patches and clever stitching to mend, strengthen and cushion clothing. It is a craft developed out of a necessity for warmth, practicality and longevity and so it was mainly used by firemen, fishermen and farmers.

Whilst I appreciate the sentiments, I confess that specifically made 'new' Boro-style garments made for the sale to the masses looses a certain amount of appeal to me. They stray too far away from the essence of the style and so the charm diminishes. New specially dyed and sourced cloth is used rather than rags and scraps and the result is something a little contrived in my mind (like purposely ripped jeans). The necessity to mend and prolong the life of a garment is not part of the creation of a brand new high-end garment. So to me, the 'Boro-ness' is no longer there.

Today, the art of mending things is often dismissed, and derided. The excesses of fast fashion and materialism makes us all believe that worn-out garments are better off discarded than investing time and effort to repair them. I have to agree to a degree. Cheap (in quality) items probably cannot be repaired properly. However, some garments have real value, not only in cost but sentiment and quality. So, armed with my inherent defiance of 'throwayism' and inspired by a boro attitude I attempted to bring life back to a pair of Hiro's jeans.





Hiro cycles to work and back every day. Gradually the associated monotony of movement degrades the the fibres of his jeans.  

I employed the most basic of sashiko stitches and did my utmost to not only mend the damage but to revive the threadbare frayed fibres by essentially creating a new patch of weft using special sashiko thread. I also tried to strengthen the vulnerable surrounding area with my rather paltry simple but effective stitches.

Even though my work cannot be easily spotted when he wear ths jeans (perhaps this is a good thing) Hiro is happy when he wears them. I am happy that my stitching seems to be enduring his daily commute!

I am working on improving my sashiko stitching skills in the years to come and will probably undertake more boro projects this year to help me along!

NOTE: The damage to Hiro's jeans has noticeably lessened when he replaced his bike seat with a leather saddle from BROOKS.


19 comments:

  1. I love this, I think way too much is thrown out when it could easily be fixed and have more life added to it. Your stitches look super awesome and the jeans definitely only improved by them :)

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  2. I've never heard of this! I like how there seems to be so much artistry stemming from a practical reason. I try to mend things as well, but as you say sometimes the cheaper stuff can't be mended.

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  3. The history and origin of boro clothing is so interesting and practical. But I have to admit that the idea of making new clothing look old, used and repaired before consumers have bought or worn it even once it something that has always baffled me utterly. It seems so silly!
    xox,
    Cee

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  4. Is it just the crotch that wears when he's cycling? I don't often wear jeans on my bike, usually going for a shorts and leggings combo but the odd time I do. Will do this week as it's really cold up here atm. Lovely work done here, loved heard about Boro, I remember you mentioning it before.

    Buckets & Spades

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  5. Exactly there Matthew! Have you tried Brooks saddles? Hiro says that the leather seats are much kinder to jeans!

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  6. Agreed! Clothes purposely made to look worn is so contrived! This is why I dislike the thought of buying ripped jeans.

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  7. i haven't, though maybe not too much need for one if i don't wear jeans so much?

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  8. I just stumbled across your blog, and I love your mission statement! I think your goals are pretty darn cool for what you'd like to do with your little corner of the internet.
    This is such an interesting concept - I've never heard of 'boro' before, but I agree with you that the genuine article seems infinitely more interesting. Your stitching is really lovely.

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  9. you did such a great job, I need some of that skills :) I have the same feeling about purposely ripped jeans!

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  10. I love how your article has reference to some very serious fashion out there and then it comes back to Japanese culture, while still mantainning a very practical purpose and containing great advice. I have to master sachiko techniques, I think. He sometimes asks me to mend his cloths and I always do it very 適当.

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  11. It's nice to know that we are on the same page!

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  12. You do too? I am so happy to know this.


    Yeah cheaper things somehow diminish motivation to even want to try. Bad I know! Maybe this is part of the reason I try to avoid spending on fast fashion but it cannot always be helped. The temptation can be so strong!

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  13. That is such a kind thing to say Fiona. Thank you!

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  14. Hello Hannah!
    You've made me feel so happy. Thank you for your comment, it means a lot to me x

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  15. How lovely! I could really use this since my son cannot keep a pair of pants un-holey for more than a few months.

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  16. What a sweet gesture! I can't even sew my husband's button, let alone anything close to this. I like that Hiro cycle to work, it's cool. here in Dubai one can't cycle without having the thought of being run by the cars! It is just not bike friendly city :( Bummer as I love to cycle

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  17. i love the thoughtfulness of your blog posts. and i love your stitches and you embracing boro attitude :)

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