Hana Mitsui, a Royal College of Art student, has developed a process to transform deadstock fabrics into luxurious new garments.
Mitsui, who received the “Visionary Process” award at the 2014 SustainRCA Show & Awards earlier this month, based her technique on the art of sakiori, a type of rag-weaving popular in Edo-era Japan. “One of the most important aspect of my theme is to recreate fabrics and to add value to the waste,” Mitsui writes on her website. “There are a huge amount of waste materials from fashion industry every season.”
Japanese peasants employed sakiori from the mid-18th to 20th centuries at a time when resources were scarce and the cultivation of cotton difficult. Like the practitioners before her, Mitsui shreds waste fabrics into thin strips, weaving them against a fresh warp to create an entirely new cloth. In contrast with the warm, durable workwear of her forebears, however, Mitsui’s creations are unmistakably high fashion.
“I innovated the way to utilize the waste materials and created original yarns out of waste,” she says. “These yarns can be used for both industrial-weaving loom and hand-weaving loom. Beautiful ikat patterns from waste textiles are born again as completely new and beautiful materials.”