The beauty of Japanese indigo and boro rediscovered

At the 2017 Men’s Fashion Week held this summer in New York, BUAISOU known for their Japanese indigo-dyed pieces and KUON, which reuses worn textiles (known as boro) gained attention. Both BUAISOU and KUON took part in the Liberty Fairs.

In the US where the denim culture is said to have originated, there are many who have knowledge of indigo, yet the craftsmanship of Japanese indigo still seems to mesmerize those in the industry. BUAISOU is a team of four indigo artisans Kenta Watanabe, Kakuo Kaji, Ken Yuki and Yuya Miura. The members initially worked in the corporate world, but as soon as they became fascinated by indigo-dyeing, they made their career change and moved to Tokushima. The artisans have not only mastered the dyeing technique, but also take pride in farming indigo leaves. With a studio in Brooklyn, New York, the members go back and forth between their two locations hoping to promote the beauty of Japanese indigo.

The brand’s studio based in Brooklyn’s Bushwick, an area popular among young artists, holds various indigo-related workshops where locals can be found getting their hands soaked in blue while learning dyeing techniques. The brand has also created bandanas in collaboration with Brooklyn artists.

KUON also promotes Japanese culture by finding beauty in details and changes due to the passing of time. The boro which KUON uses as material originated in areas such as farming villages in the Tohoku region, and have been sewn together or patched-up and repaired to be passed down through generations. Appreciating the history and richness of each cloth, the brand creates items from tailored jackets to baseball shirts in modern designs.

The term ‘boro' is becoming more and more recognized in the western culture. The popular NY-based brand Altuzara featured kimono patterns and boro prints in their S/S 2014 Collection.

Indigo-dyeing and boro are Japanese traditions that were almost forgotten until this new generation of Japanese artists rediscovered their beauty and shared them with the world. Thanks to them, these almost forgotten traditions are now taking root in New York.