The second batch of discoveries from our jaunt through Liberty Fairs is indigo-drenched. Indigo is a native plant in Japan and the history of Indigo dye on the small eastern island runs deep, back to the 10th century. The technique boomed during the Edo period (1192-1333) due to the dye’s ability to cling well to cotton, the popular fabric of the lower classes at the time. By the early 1900’s almost 1400 acres were covered in indigo crop in Japan, now a mere 70 acres. The process of dyeing naturally is laborious, time-consuming and is carried on by skilled artisans. Traditionally Sukumo leaves, wheat bran, sake, hardwood ash and lime are combined in vats and fermented to produce the ocean hue. In Japanese culture the dye has been believed to contain protective properties from warning off insects and snakes in fields to sparing firemen burns. Out of the hundreds of booths at Liberty Fairs two stood out to us: Blue Blue Japan and Koromo.
Blue Blue Japan began in 1993 and designer Kenji Tsuji has been designing there since 2006. His designs usually contain bold, graphic interpretations of traditional Japanese motifs and patterns (waves, the sun, Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, etc.). When his pieces aren’t emblazoned with beautiful images they are simple and highlight the beauty of traditional indigo dye. Many of the shirts are made with a tie dye technique called Shibori or have a dip dyed ombre fade. The construction of the garments is based on farm work wear. You can find Blue Blue Japan products at Union Made Goods, Mr Porter, and Hickoree’s. Read more about Kenji at mrporter.com.
Below this tattered patched jacket read a sign “This 100 year old fabric is Aizome (Indigo dyed cloth). The well used areas of the fabric are where it has been hand sewn over and over again. The clothes have been made out of this fabric as is. In times when things were scarce in Japan even a little fabric was considered precious. This preciousness is found in this cloth.”
Traditional Japanese stitching technique, sashiko, used on button detail.
For more photos, style inspiration, and information on denim and indigo techniques check out the Denim Therapy Tumblr and Pinterest pages.
All photographs credited to the author.
We received this pair of donations in the office last week—an elaborate DIY patchwork of fabrics and denim, torn and re-sewn, pulled together to the bitter end. This is love, people! This is denim addiction. But is this the best way to fix your jeans? Nope. We admire the effort… but our expert denim repair therapists can give them a better shot at life.
Have a pair of jeans you want to give a second shot at life? Rather than going the above route, we suggest sending them to our expert denim repair therapists for hole repair, reinforcement, tailoring, hemming, and everything a needy pair of jeans could want.
Tags: denim addict, Denim Therapy, fix your jeans, how to fix jeans, patchwork
By now you know we love an item that’s fashionably unconventional, and while patchwork denim may be happening right now, it’s not often you see a dude walking down the street in a chambray version of the blanket he used as a baby. Thanks to the muted tones and fitted silhouette of this Band Of Outsiders patchwork denim shirt, however, what might be kitschy becomes totally chic.
Want one? It’s yours for $265 at Aloha Rag.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: Band of Outsiders, mens denim, patchwork, workshirt
(capsule) on Style Sight has released their denim trend forecast for the end of winter/beginning of spring and beyond. They forsee an increase of patchwork treatments for both repair and design element purposes, as well as color-blocking through bleach and dye jobs and paneling. Western and ’70s details like studs and retro vests are set to take the stage, and we’re already seeing hints of this coming down the runway. What trends will you pick up on?
Click here to see the full report. In our continued coverage of (capsule), we’ll bring you right to the floor of the trade show and introduce you to trends, brands, and faces of tomorrow’s denim industry! Stay tuned…
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: 70s fashion, Capsule, color blocking, denim trends, paneling, patchwork, retro, Spring 2011, style sight, trend forecast, winter 2011
Sprucing up your closet for the holidays? Don’t get rid of those old ill-fitting jeans! The holiday windows at Mavi in Union Square reminded us of one other fabulous way to make use of your denim once its days in your wardrobe are through. We’ve put together a quick step-by-step guide to wrapping your gifts in denim. Scroll through the Mavi windows to see how it’s done. ?
1. Gather up jeans you’re not wearing anymore, or make a quick trip the Salvation Army and pick up a couple pairs of large jeans with the saturation and wash of your liking. A right blue with red ribbons could be just as stunning as a stone grey with silver and gold holly leaves.
Tip: If you’re looking for wrapping that’s a bit more uniform-looking, you can order denim by the yard from any variety of fabric stores. Check out Mood Fabrics’ wide selection of denim, and even order online.
2. Cut up the jeans into panels of fabric. If you have a sewing machine, you can create bigger patchwork pieces and even add some decorative top-stitching. Otherwise, it’s best to keep your pieces big enough to wrap all the way around your gift at least once.
3. Wrap up your gift! The denim can be held in place simply by circling ribbons or twine around it, or hand-stitching it together with some strong quilting thread. Depending on the severity of your stitching job, you’ll want to hand over a big pair of fabric scissors when it’s time to do the unwrapping.
4. Get creative! Spray the edges of frayed denim strips to create a beautiful bow. Use glitter glue, studs, or any kind of paint to create a fabulous finish. Use a panel with a pocket and slip your gift card in it. By the time you’re finished you’ll wonder why you ever resorted to boring old wrapping paper in the past.
Voila! A creative, thoughtful way to give gifts this holiday season that will brighten up anyone’s day. Just make sure the gift itself is awesome… you don’t want the cool wrapping paper to overshadow whatever’s inside.
Post your holiday DIY denim projects on our facebook wall and we could feature yours on the blog! And be sure to stop by Mavi’s Union Square location to check out their windows for yourself.
Mavi Jeans – 832 Broadway (between 12th & 13th Streets); New York, NY 10003
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: broadway, christmas 2010, DIY, gift wrap, holiday 2010, holiday windows, Mavi Jeans, patchwork
Sick of consistent surface denim and a lack of zig-zagging contours? Never fear—paneled and and patchwork denim is rampant! Featured as one of Refinery29’s recent top Fall denim trends, you won’t have to walk (or click) far to find a pair that you love.
The trend seemingly snowballed via recent deliveries of panel-crazy cocktail dresses, worn tight as seran wrap to accentuate the torso as much as possible. Antonio Berardi and Versace are too obvious culprits–and more recently designers like Jen Kao have joined the geometric seams game. In jeans, the star players are designers like Helmut Lang, Rick Owens, Marc Jacobs, and Acne. Check out a few of our favorites below:
1. Helmut Lang Denim Smoke Wash Grey Combo Jeans ($230) – buy it at Shopbop.
2. TOPSHOP Chain Seamed Skinny Jeans in Grey ($100) – buy it at TOPSHOP.
3. Acne Black Paneled Skinny Jean ($313) – buy it at My Wardrobe.
4. SUPERFINE Leather SWIRL Jeans ($460) – buy it at Ssense.
5. Selected Femme Paneled Denim Skinny Jeans ($118) – buy it at ASOS.
6. Woodford & Co Denim Jodhpurs ($278) – buy it at Shopbop.
The trend expands to jackets, especially in patchwork (check out the Opening Ceremony jacket we featured the other day), and will likely spread steadily to other fits and fibers.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: Acne, Helmut Lang, jean trends, jeans, Marc Jacobs, paneled denim, patchwork, Rick Owens, seaming