Japan invented high strength sustainable clothing 400 years ago. Now we’re reinventing it.
- Sweatshirt is 100% organic cotton for softness
- Embroidered with 4.5km of strong meta-aramid thread
- Loopback construction
Reinforced with 4.5 kilometres of high-strength stitching, the Sashiko Sweatshirt pioneers a completely new approach to creating highly durable clothing, inspired by the ancient Japanese art of sashiko. The technique of sashiko, or ‘little stabs,’ is a highly resilient form of embroidery developed during the Japanese Edo period, where worn out garments were repaired using decorative hand stitches. Clothes would be mended again and again as they passed down the generations, getting stronger as they got older.
Rather than waiting until an item of clothing needs to be repaired, we’ve simply applied sashiko-style stitching in super-strong meta-aramid thread over the entire sweatshirt at the start of its life. By combining 100% organic cotton with 4.5 kilometres of high-strength stitching, we’ve created a sweatshirt that’s as soft and comfortable as it is tough and durable. Every Sashiko Sweatshirt takes a dedicated artisan three days to construct.
The sashiko method helped pioneer sustainable clothing
The technique of sashiko, or ‘little stabs,’ is a highly resilient form of embroidery developed during the Japanese Edo period to repair torn and damaged clothes. Instead of today’s invisible mending, sashiko highlighted the rips, tears, frays and fringes of a piece of clothing, reinventing it with stitching in a contrasting thread. This simple ‘running stitch’ technique, used in repeating or interlocking patterns, not only gave clothes individual style, but also made them warmer, stronger and longer-lasting.
Sashiko needles were like magic wands
A long, sharp sashiko needle was sometimes referred to as a ‘magic wand.’ A tool that could not only save a piece of clothing, but make it more beautiful at the same time. Grey or white stitches against an indigo blue background were the classic sashiko combination, sometimes recalling blue mountains covered in snow, or the whitecaps on The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Stitched with thousands of Vs
The traditional geometric patterns of sashiko included arrows, lightning and bamboo as popular motifs. Our stitching pattern is based on the Vollebak ‘V’. The stitching is denser towards the hem of the sweatshirt, and sparser at the elbows. This maximises movement and strengthens the areas where it’s needed most.
4.5 kilometres of stitching that takes 3 days
High strength, flame-retardant aramid fibres are conventionally used to make clothing worn by military personnel, firefighters and industrial workers whose lives depend on protection against fires and electrical arcs. While we’ve used these materials to make some of our other ultra-tough clothing before, we’re pretty sure our Sashiko Sweatshirt is the first time that a single piece of clothing has been reinforced with 4.5 kilometres of meta-aramid stitching.
The Sashiko Sweatshirt pioneers a new approach to creating highly durable clothing that’s inspired by the ancient Japanese art of sashiko, where worn-out clothes are repaired using decorative hand-stitches. But rather than waiting until an item of clothing needs to be repaired, we’ve applied sashiko-style stitching in super-strong meta-aramid thread all over the garment at the start of its life.
Knitted in Italy from 100% organic cotton
The Sashiko Sweatshirt is made from heavyweight 470g, 100% organic cotton, knitted in the mountains of northern Italy. The cotton-jersey is built using densely knitted yarn to create a fabric that’s more resistant to wear and pilling.
Each sweatshirt takes 3 days to make
The loopback construction we use to make the sweatshirt comes from using a special machine called a knitting loopwheel, where the knitting is done on a machine that revolves around large cylinders at a leisurely pace, knitting and stacking layers of organic cotton as it goes. These machines are only able to complete 24 revolutions a minute, which means it takes 1 hour to produce 1 metre of fabric. The meta-aramid thread is then stitched all over the garment, something that takes 3 days to complete for each sweatshirt.
Ancient Edo society hated garbage
Garbage was almost non-existent in the Edo period. They didn’t just recycle and reuse. They understood that everything had a value and that living happily and within their means was a virtue. Repair and reuse businesses were everywhere. Enterprising samurai would turn busted bamboo umbrella frames into kindling, carefully unpicking oiled parasols and turning them into special wrapping paper. ‘Geta no haire,’ or wooden clog repairers, would travel door-to-door. And if your kettle or old pot sprung a leak, an ‘ikake,’ or metal repairer, was never far away.
It meant Japanese clothing wasn’t like western clothing
Clothing was the ultimate non-disposable product. Traditional kimonos were cut straight in equal proportions with no waste, so they were standardised goods – a significant point of difference with Western clothing. If Western clothes were disassembled they would be different sizes and could not be recycled the way kimonos were – effectively making them single-use items.
SIze + Fit
The Sashiko Sweatshirt is designed with a regular fit.
|Fits chest||83 - 90||91 - 98||99 - 106||107 - 114||115 - 122||123 - 130|
|Fits waist||71 - 76||76 - 81||81 - 86||86 - 91||91 - 96||96 - 101|
|Fits chest||33 - 36||36 - 39||39 - 42||42 - 45||45 - 48||48 - 51|
|Fits waist||28 - 30||30 - 32||32 - 34||34 - 36||36 - 38||38 - 40|