PAPER DRESSES, BAMBOO SKIRTS:
Traditional Materials Find New Application in Clothing
May 23, 2000
Bamboo, Paper, and Charcoal Too
Paper clothing is also coming out. Apparel makers began offering sweaters knit from fibers made of washi in March 2000, and they plan to expand their lineups of washi clothing in the fall. Jackets, sweaters, and pants for men are also available. The 100% washi fabric is light and breathable and feels a lot like linen. Garments made from it are priced on the high side, at 60,000 yen (571 dollars) for jackets and 25,000 yen (238 dollars) for pants. This fabric also absorbs dust and odors, as evidenced by the fact that it is used as filters in air-purifying devices.
Washi and bamboo are not the only traditional materials being used in clothing. Jackets and pants made of a new material that is 70% polyester and 30% charcoal have also come up. The charcoal is pulverized, then mixed into a polyester solution to produce an exceptionally resilient, lustrous fabric that also reportedly has deodorizing properties.
Other natural materials that have garnered attention over the past few years include kenaf--a grass of the mallow family that can grow three or four meters in six months--and hemp. The trend toward the use of natural materials in the fashion world is picking up momentum, and a variety of exhibitions and contests are taking place, providing venues for the display of these materials.
The Road to Paper Clothes
The merits of paper and bamboo for use in textile fibers are their breathability (ideal for Japan's humid summers), the ease of processing them into fabric, their high functionality, and their beauty. The fashion world's fascination with all things Oriental and Japanese continues unabated, and washi and bamboo are attracting the interest of a growing number of designers. More and more of these materials are expected to find their way onto store shelves as time goes by.
Copyright (c) 2000 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.