The production of this collection began when 150kg of used clothing was brought back to Japan from Africa. Most of the clothes did not have proper labels, and so their origin and component materials were impossible to ascertain. These sorts of clothes are generally very difficult to recycle. However, using Seiko Epson’s dry fiber technology that converts diverse materials into fibers and makes them highly functional, the label managed to produce new textiles for creating new garments. For this project, Nakazato selected graphics and color pallets based on the scenery he encountered in Africa. 

I was moved by many things seen during our travels: the sight of colorful plastics reflecting the sunlight on a trash heap mixed with smoke from a spontaneous combustion; people wearing bright textiles and beads in the dry desert air; and colorful old clothes scattered on the ground as people trod them underfoot. These scenes reminded me of both the ugliness and the beauty of humanity. 

Yuima Nakazato

During this trip to Kenya, Nakazato also visited areas struggling with severe droughts, and experienced firsthand the preciousness of water. Seiko Epson’s digital textile printing technology allowed him to transmit the impressions he gained from his travels in Africa onto fabric while also helping to reflect on the importance of adopting water-conserving treatments and processes. The photographs taken from the mountains of garbage were printed on the fabric of a paper installation presented at the show venue, designed to express Earth’s destruction at humanity’s hand.

The label also gathered stones from the largest desert in East Africa and ground them down to nano-size natural pigments using submicron/nanoparticle technology developed by the Japanese Painting Laboratory at Joshibi University of Art and Design. These pigments were used to make dyes, which were employed to color the synthetic Brewed Protein™ materials developed by Spiber Inc. that feature in the collection.

The way tribespeople wrap cloth around their bodies is reminiscent of the Japanese kimono. Clothes made almost entirely using the fabric as-is are worn by men and women, young and old, in accordance with their own bodies, and with evident enjoyment found in the art of styling. Similarly, YUIMA NAKAZATO drew upon inspiration from the kimono to further evolve its original pattern-making technique of creating three-dimensional shapes from rectangles, thereby attempting to reinterpret fashion’s approach to size and gender.

The story of this collection’s production will be made into a documentary film by director Kousai Sekine to be released this summer, exploring questions concerning the future of the fashion industry. Moving forward, YUIMA NAKAZATO will continue to confront important social issues while seeking new questions and solutions through the art of clothing.