Nelson, New Zealand – Mima Osawa, 27, grew up splitting her time between New Zealand and Japan. After an opportunity encounter with a textile store in Nagano Prefecture that specialised in promoting deadstock cloth, Osawa was impressed to start out Mono Handmade, a specialty clothes line that upcycles cloth, to do her half in making the style business extra sustainable.
1. The place did you develop up? I used to be born in Japan and grew up in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Surrounded by nature (and sheep, after all), we had a whole lot of freedom and didn’t want a lot to be joyful.
Simply as you think about New Zealand to be, it’s essentially the most stunning place. I’d immerse myself in nature by going tenting with household, and soaking within the solar on the shore with associates. My yard was my escape.
2. What introduced you to Japan? Being raised in a culturally various household with Japanese, Maori and European backgrounds — the opposite half of my household is in Japan. Going forwards and backwards between New Zealand and Japan has all the time been a routine for me.
3. When did you may have your “fast-fashion awakening”? Throughout a go to to my grandma’s hometown in Nagano Prefecture, I walked right into a textile retailer solely to find that the gathering of materials it supplied was all extra discarded from different bigger producers within the trend business. It was stunning to see the countless piles, all of which had been in excellent situation, simply sitting there amassing mud.
From then on, I began to analysis the affect of the style business (on our planet), solely to be extra shocked by the info and statistics.
4. Did that encourage you to start out Mono Handmade? Sure, 100%. If I’d by no means set foot in that retailer, I wouldn’t have been as conscious of the business as I needs to be. It’s additionally due to my mother, who has impeccable talent in making garments; her love for stitching will need to have rubbed off on me. Consequently, the selection was easy for me to take sustainability into my very own arms and to create items with an eco-conscious method.
5. Is there a narrative behind the model title? “Mono” means “one.” Every Mono piece is handmade, making it distinctive. No two handmade objects are ever the identical.
6. How would you describe “deadstock” to somebody unfamiliar with the time period? “Deadstock” is the leftover stock that’s unused or discarded. Within the trend business, the important thing causes of deadstock can vary from materials or clothes having small imperfections to corporations overestimating their orders.
7. What does the style business have to do to develop into extra moral? We have to design new methods of manufacturing and consuming trend that excite and encourage with out inflicting irreversible harm to folks and the atmosphere. This entails contemplating key elements like moral labor, sustainable materials, a zero-waste philosophy and so forth. It’s essential to construct extra consciousness so we every have a greater understanding of what we will do to assist and contribute positively.
8. The place does Mono Handmade supply its materials? At present, all materials are sourced in Nagano Prefecture. I dwell shut sufficient to have the ability to handpick every textile, deciding on supplies of top quality. With the suppliers having the identical purpose of repurposing and giving these materials a second likelihood, relatively than going to waste, my relationship with suppliers has developed organically and naturally.
9. How do you make sure the deadstock cloth you supply is top quality? One of many first issues to grasp about making certain cloth high quality is figuring out that several types of materials have completely different traits — so the requirements apply in a different way for every. A couple of key areas I take a look at embody fiber weave and shade. Excessive-quality materials characteristic fibers which can be carefully and tightly woven collectively, so I keep away from any materials with apparent gaps or loosely packed yarns that point out weak spot of fiber high quality. I additionally guarantee evenness within the tone of colours all through the floor of the material, avoiding any streaks.
10. Who designs the items? I design all Mono items. In a nutshell, the method entails (a sequence of) steps from brainstorming concepts with tough sketches to structuring the shapes — the stage of sampling the designs — to lastly testing sturdiness, energy, consolation and so forth.
11. Do you may have plans to scale up the model sooner or later? Constructing this model has been a pure course of for me and I’d hope to scale it up by doing my half on this business. I’ll proceed to play my half by creating sustainable items whereas creating extra consciousness in regards to the impacts of this business — and we’ll see the place that takes us!
12. Is there a giant fashion distinction between New Zealand and Japan? For my part, sure. Japan has an extremely energetic trend scene, and I like that persons are very expressive via their trend. On the similar time, they’re confronted with the hazard of quick trend, developments are very fast to come back out and in.
The scene in New Zealand is completely different. Individuals are much less expressive via what they put on, however have extra consciousness of sustainability. There are a lot of small startups, together with trend companies that target making optimistic impacts, which is one thing I actually respect and admire.
13. How do you outline “timeless trend”? Timeless trend is when a design has survived many years and the quick tempo of the style world. In immediately’s trend business, what was 4 seasons has been become 51, so designs sometimes exit of favor as quick as they arrive in. Timeless trend, then again, neither follows these developments nor loses its worth or attract.
14. Do you assume COVID-19 has modified clothes developments? I feel COVID-19 upended trend developments for the higher. It has been a name to the style business to decelerate, transfer away from mass manufacturing and take optimistic motion. Apart from, customers are stocking up on comfy loungewear to earn a living from home and are purchasing much less.
15. What’s the very best factor folks can do to lengthen the lifetime of their garments? Garment care. Each garment will ultimately put on out after repeated washes, however observe that not all garments must be washed after each put on.
Additionally, relying on the fabric, some are designed to be washed by hand. When you should use a machine then use low warmth and put delicate materials in a laundry bag to scale back tearing.
16. What’s one merchandise everybody ought to have of their wardrobe? Linen garments. I like an merchandise the place the extra you put on it, the higher it will get. Linen will get softer, silkier and kinds a stupendous and pure wrinkle after each wash. It’s additionally a pure fiber with low environmental affect, supplying you with peace of thoughts.
17. Do you gather something? I’ve a set of cloth offcuts. Whereas I attempt to upcycle deadstock materials for all Mono items, inevitably smaller offcuts will nonetheless be left after manufacturing. As an alternative of throwing them away, I hold the smaller items for smaller clothes objects like pockets and hair scrunchies.
18. You must “KonMari” your wardrobe and may hold three items. What are they? My basic, easy white T-shirt — one which I can attain for in a rush. It’s a minimal piece that anchors assertion items like printed or coloured pants. Then, a high-quality, cozy coat that may stand the check of time. It proves a pleasure to tug out of the wardrobe each winter. Lastly, a button-down shirt that was handmade by my mother. It’s one thing I’ve all the time valued, figuring out the time and thought she put into it.
19. Is there something you miss about New Zealand once you’re in Japan? Apart from family and friends, I miss the Kiwi life — something from consuming fish and chips on the seashore on a summer season night to having an ideal flat white — New Zealand has wonderful espresso.
20. What’s your favourite phrase or phrase in any language, and why? My favourite Kiwi phrase — “She’ll be proper” — which merely implies that the whole lot can be OK. It’s a well-liked expression utilized in New Zealand to emphasise an optimistic angle to life. I like the simplicity of this phrase; it helps me to see the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel.
For extra info on the garments Mima Osawa makes, go to monohandmade.com.
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