Read my three-part blog series, What is Western Sakiori?, by clicking on the headers below:

What is sakiori?

Sakiori is a method of rag-weaving used in Japan by peasant or rural populations from approximately the mid-18th c. through the mid-20th c. for the construction of work garments, obis and other utilitarian textiles.  Rag-weaving was a way for poor people to have the use of high-value cloth, in this case cotton, when they could not afford to buy it new or even in good used condition.  Before cotton rag became available, most Japanese peasants wore clothing made from bast fibers like linden or wisteria.  Clothing made from sakiori using cotton rag was warmer and more durable.

How is sakiori relevant to us today?

More than just recycling, sakiori was a means of personal expression for Japanese peasants.  They were not simply trying to re-use desirable cloth, but to make something that, for their purposes, was as good as the original use.  Rather than trending downward, the cotton cloth being recycled held its value by providing not just the desirable properties of cotton, but design opportunities as well.  In today’s culture, the recycling and re-fashioning of textile waste needs to develop to suit mainstream aesthetics in order to thrive as a movement.

What is Western Sakiori?

Western Sakiori is the marriage of historical Japanese sakiori techniques and traditions with modern North American materials and aesthetics.  I use high-value fabrics that have been discarded as rags to make new cloth that is of the same or better caliber as its original use.  My garment designs are based on the original Japanese sakiori clothing, which prioritized eliminating waste in the garment construction process.  Western Sakiori demonstrates that recycled textiles can appeal to mainstream style sensibilities at the same time it makes a statement about textile waste.