What drew you to becoming a fashion designer?
I am interested in clothes as a medium for recording human culture and cognition. For example, the relationship between an ethnic group and their natural environment is recorded in their ethnic costumes. We can also relive the past a little by wearing traditional costumes, even if we live in modern times. It is even possible to bring a 2D animated character into the real world nowadays. Clothing has the power to let others experience recognition and context. For example, by recording modern ideology in clothing, it will be possible to shake the foundations of our perceptions.
Since I realized that clothing is a mirror of human perception, I began to use clothing subjectively, as a form of media.
Why was it important to you to offer a sustainable, responsible, Eco fashion line, and how do you incorporate ideals such Zero Waste into your work?
I've been thinking about after I die, and whether or not it would be a good idea to be cremated, as is the Japanese custom. When cremating a corpse, a large amount of carbon dioxide is discharged. So, is a natural burial the best? Yet, human flesh contains residues of processed food, silver teeth and plastic, etc., and these are also stored in the body. This means that we are putting substances that aren't biodegradable into the earth when we bury a body. I realized that creating a situation where my body creates 'Zero Waste' was a more difficult problem than I had imagined.
On the other hand, when you think about clothes, you can make them totally biodegradable, so that it can all be returned to nature one day. Although I cannot see it or appreciate this happening as I create, I believe that incorporating things properly back into nature is of great value and importance. "If my flesh will end up generating waste, then at least my clothing will make Zero Waste." I wonder if it is possible that such a way of thinking can be established today?
Now, In this collection, I have been approaching making Zero Waste clothing from two standpoints, since last year. One was to reduce the amount of fabric being wasted. Another was the rationalization of the process of biodegradable clothing.
Where do your find inspiration for new work?
The theme of my new work, to be announced at EFWA2018, is "The Claws of Clothes.” If clothing had claws, how would this change their state of existence?
This idea was brought about by Professor Shinji Hirai and his team at Muroran Institute of Technology, and their research into "protein resin.” (https://www.omicsonline.org/speaker/shinji-hirai-muroran-institute-of-technology-japan/) In case of “wool resin,” by compressing wool cloth while applying heat to it, the keratin contained in the wool becomes a resin.
I thought again about the "human nail,” composed of the same keratin as wool resin. Human nails have great functionality. Our soft fingers are equipped with hard claws. It is said that this was perhaps the main key to the development of mankind. Human beings who acquired delicate fingertips managed to increase their brain capacity by using these hands and so, developed intelligence. When I considered these nails that have played such a big role in our evolution, a new question was born. I wondered if clothes would change, if they were equipped with claws.
What materials do you work with - organic, reclaimed, etc.?
This time, I wanted to use wool and “wool resin,” as my main material.
This is an animal-derived resin, is not a petroleum-derived material and is biodegradable. This material has great potential. To resinify wool, I first prepare a wool cloth from which the surface layer of cuticles has been removed. Next, I stack this cloth and compress it while adding heat, at a temperature of about 150 degrees. By doing so, the cloth becomes resin. Another great feature of this is that you can dye the finished resin. By using a method of laying fabric during the processing, you can create various facial expressions as decorations. Also, instead of sewing clothes traditionally, plasticization by pressing can be used to bond the fabrics, which may lead to a reduction in cost.
However, it's very expensive to make products from it, and we need financial assistance. If anyone is able to contribute, please get in touch. (email@example.com)
What are the biggest challenges you face as a sustainable designer?
Well, I don't have much experience as a sustainable designer.
I realize that, without expert advice, it is difficult to understand the concept of 'ecology' removed from the current trends, and to get accurate facts regarding 'ecosystem.’ Gaining familiarity with the background context for scenes that often use words like 'recycling' and 'environmentally friendly' and determining what these words really mean practically speaking, is a big challenge for me right now. Therefore, I believe that it is essential for designers to collaborate with engineers and environmental ethics professionals for the future of an authentic, fundamental Eco-fashion.
How do you help customers understand the higher cost of sustainable garments when they are so inundated with sweat shop-produced, cheap merchandise?
Clothes represent the philosophy of the person wearing them. I hope that people who agree with the concept and quality of the work I propose will be satisfied with the price as well. Furthermore, my work places heavy emphasis on the conceptual aspect, and I don't imagine that people will use my clothes as casual wear. Therefore, it is necessary to think of the pieces as a kind of artwork.
What can we look forward to seeing on the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia?
In my collection entitled ”The Claws of Clothes,” I present the idea of creating clothes on the body without sewing anything together. Instead of sewing traditionally, plasticization by pressing can be used to bond the fabrics, which may lead to a reduction in cost. At the moment, the issue of making the material durable against repeated washing is being addressed.
We began exploring new possibilities concerning clothing made using protein resins. The resinify of protein is advanced technology with practical use in mind, and enhanced accuracy is necessary. At the same time, I would like to share the wonder of this research with many people.
How do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life?
First, I consider how I should bury my body. Our bodies accumulate waste in the process of taking in food and air. Therefore, in order to return the body to nature cleanly, it is necessary to devise some sort of contrivance. An excellent practice example is a project being undertaken by artist Jae Rhim Lee (http://coeio.com/). She suggests a way of cultivating edible mushrooms to consume your corpse in an environmental way. Moreover, in the area of fashion design, I want to propose something called "clothes to die in". I think it is a very exciting idea.
Second, I think about how the relationship between my body and my surrounding environment can be connected to the clothes I create and wear. For example, what if what you ate was reflected in your clothes? I mean, if you recorded 365 days of your meal data and reflected it in the textile design of your clothes? If you ate only instant noodles, you would finish up with a ridiculously chemical design. What if we ate more healthily, and as a result, got clothes with beautifully designed graphics? We may be able to design clothing that triggers people to review their own eating habits.
In my opinion, everything in life can be infused into fashion design.
- Website - http://www.studio-membrane.com/