This project is inspired by some remarkable features of the Japanese cultural tradition, which has a consistent approach to life. I strongly believe that a better world depends upon an individual’s sincere and continual endeavor to nurture and spread positive values and actions. In this sense, studying the Japanese culture, I was immediately touched by their unique and deep set of costumes and values, based on respect, responsibility, generosity and gratitude, which plays a central role in the everyday life.
The japanese culture is marked by a strong aesthetic sensibility. It is as if every detail, each fragment and each nuance is as important as the whole. Furthermore, it is also a spiritual culture. In this regard, the beauty lies not only in what you can learn by the senses. We need to see beyond appearances and learn the intangible. Flowers strike deep into the japanese heart, nourishing their soul and senses, each season. They are part of nature. And nature, as Shinto – the indigenous religion of Japan – professes, is sacred.
The worship of flowers comes from a traditional custom. Ever since ancient times, people arranged parties to view the blooming of cherry blossoms -\”sakura\”. This practice, called \”hanami\”, remains alive today. Due to their aesthetic appeal and their short lifespan, the cherry blossoms have become a metaphor for life and existence: beautiful, frail and ephemeral. They reinforce the ties of gratitude and respect for nature and, above all, remind us that life is a unique experience, fickle and fleeting and should be appreciated and celebrated in every detail, no matter how small.
Folding is a ubiquitous activity in Japanese life. From folding envelopes and intricate designs with paper, kimonos, cloths and packages, one could even say that it is a mean of expression within this culture. In fact, by folding you can convey your feelings. “Origata”, for instance, a traditional Japanese art of gift wrapping, shows the real beauty behind its folds by expressing respect, consideration and gratitude for the recipient. As the French philosopher Roland Barthes writes in his essay, “Empire of Signs”, about Japanese packaging: “It is as if, then, the box were the object of the gift, not what it contains”.
Folds are filled with reflection and meaning. They are the detail, even if subtle and restrained; the aesthetic reflection, the symbolic gesture. In addition, they reveal what lies behind rigid methods, precise lines and sharp angles: folds, through their formal geometry, embrace the moral geometry that rules the Japanese society.
\”Mottainai\” is a Japanese term that can be roughly understood as the expression \”what a waste!”. It expresses a feeling of regret due to waste and sorrow that something was not properly used. Because misusing an object is denying its dignity.
Traditionally used by Buddhists to disapprove the misuse of sacred objects, the term also reflects Shinto ideals. As an animistic religion, Shinto assigns a spirit to all objects, resulting in man\’s spiritual relationship with everything that surrounds him. Therefore, mottainai relates to not only use or reuse. It conveys a sense of appreciation and gratitude. It is, above all, an attitude that focuses on awareness of the essence of all things, as well as the relationships between nature and beings – animate and inanimate. It is an understanding that everything that exists is part of an interconnected whole and must be respected.
Thus, inspired by the concept of mottainai, this project shows some garments made out of textile waste.