Tsukumogami literally means the Kami (god) of tools. Tsukumogami is a Yokai of old and broken objects that, in order to be noticed again by the owner, become alive and noisy.
The story of Tsukumogami is the main inspiration for this collection. The concept of the collection is to give a soul and usage back to these undesirable objects and textiles, all collected in recycle shops and flea markets around Tokyo and Kanagawa. Therefore, it reevaluates the object by integrating them into garments and accessory pieces.
The rescued objects are made using forgotten or underestimated traditional techniques. The collection of objects was mainly focused on basketry. Basketry pieces are in between everyday life objects, accessories (bag, jewelry), and textile (woven).
In order to integrate these objects in garments, and create a visual cohesion, they are assembled together using tailoring and fine couture techniques, as well as fishing supply inspired techniques such as basketry, knotting, or wetsuit making. For example, some pieces are made of basketry weaving technique using textile, or with lines following the body structures like scuba diving equipment.
The global aesthetic of Yokai (Otobō namazu, Dodomeki, Futakuchi onna, Shīsā, Bakezōri, Chōchinobake…) has inspired shapes like eyes, tongues, or curves. The aspect of sexuality and fluidity, also inherent in Yokai, is integrated in the collection.
Additionally, the pieces are designed functional, modular, and transformable, thanks to sports-wear elements. Each detail allows the garment or accessory to be transformed.
Thus creating a fluid and dynamic silhouette, blending in the tumultuous ocean full of Yokai protecting the Shonan bay.
The Shonan Bay
My first encounter with Japanese culture as a child was through the amazingly poetic animations of Miyazaki Hayao. Landscapes, textures, colors, weather… Everything seemed so different that each movie was a journey to this country, so unreachable for me at the time. The most fascinating stories were probably the ones featuring the Japanese ocean and its characters. As I grew up, I tried to find the beauty of the rocks and sea creatures depicted, making the Normandy coast my favorite landscape in France. I imagined how dragons or magic fish could fight to preserve their earthsea.
When I finally got the chance to study in Japan, years later, one of my first trips from Tokyo was at the Shonan bay. When I arrived at Yogashima and surveyed the coast, everything around me clicked; colors, textures, peoples, I felt immersed in the fantastic world of Yokai. This magical feeling was reinforced when I started surfing on Shonan waves, surrounded by tens of flying fishes, lit by sunrise.
Therefore, I had the desire to create to express this beauty of nature and the need of its protection. Japanese monsters express a duality between a horrific character and a protector of nature. They transform and adapt through centuries, educating many childrens and young adults to preserve their lands and oceans. I first focused my research on the Yokai living in Kanagawa. Kawa tengu (川天狗), Maikubi (舞首), Otobō namazu (音坊鯰), Tengubi (天狗火), Miura Kaidan (三浦怪談), a great number of them are water creatures. Each of their stories, and the way they are represented, inspired me to research more on Japanese Yokai and folk stories in general. It also pushed me to learn traditional oceans related techniques, such as basketry or knot techniques for fishnet making. Finally, the highly technical cuts and materials of surfing and diving wetsuit, studied in different second hand stores across Kanagawa, opened the possibility for me of artistic sportswear garments.
Thanks to this experience of Japanese seaside nature, folk stories, crafts, and sportswear, I would like to introduce you to the Tsukumogami collection, greatly inspired by the Shonan bay and spirit.
|Photographs in Hayama
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