Creative Design: Professional

In the Spirit of Otsuzure

  • M. Jo Kallal (University of Delaware)


Heavily patched and mended boro garments from Japan characterize extreme methods of frugality employed to sustain garments over lifetimes. Indigenous Japanese otsuzure (workwear) were examined for clues to efficient material usage, aesthetics of wear, and methods of reuse that may be applied to sustainable contemporary apparel. Principles of wabi-sabi guided the composition of rustic, slightly damaged materials into seemingly simple garment shapes. They integrate clean structures with adaptable fit, plus a collar and pockets. Sashiko stitches reinforce fragile areas. The minimal form of the top is uncontrived; a natural reflection of a solitary rectangle of cloth cut to eliminate all waste while balancing perfectly from the shoulders. The cut of the mompe, led to improved material efficiency and fit, and an unusual pocket composition. A blend of hand and machine technologies integrates function and craft into wearable garments that transcend fast fashion trends—and contribute alternative methods to patternmaking and pocket design.

How to Cite:

Kallal, M., (2016) “In the Spirit of Otsuzure”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 73(1).

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Published on
11 Sep 2016
Peer Reviewed