One of Filmelangé’s missions is to create high-quality garments while supporting traditional artisans and using their methods in innovative ways. The brand’s latest collection is crafted in collaboration with Higo-dyeing artisans on Kagoshima’s Amami Oshima Island.
Admiring Amami Oshima’s Time-honored Traditions
The traditions of Amami Oshima’s rich silk textiles date back over 1,300 years. Oshima silk pongee is renowned for its soft texture, vibrant patterns and subdued colors in dark browns and black and the occasional startling red. These colors are brought forth using a time-honored, mostly unchanged labor-intensive dyeing technique. It is this dyeing method and the deep natural colors it produces that inspired Filmelangé to create a collection using this traditional approach.
Made with Naturally Available Dyes
One of the textile industry’s worst offenders when it comes to environmental destruction is synthetic dyes. They don’t completely bind themselves to the fabric and toxic waste is released into the wastewater stream. Amami Oshima’s mud-dyeing exclusively uses naturally available ingredients: twigs and branches from the yeddo hawthorn shrub and iron-rich mud. The mud brings forth a rusty red-brown, but when combined with tannic acid from the yeddo hawthorn, artisans can create a deep black color – a difficult shade to achieve in natural dyes.
Following Traditional Sustainable Practices
The process of mud-dyeing clothing is mostly done by hand and can take up to a year from start to finish. Yeddo hawthorn twigs are broken into small pieces and simmered in a large cauldron. Clothing is first dyed in this mixture about 20 times. Each garment is then dyed a total of about 80 times – one mud-dyeing session to every 20 yeddo hawthorn dye dips – to achieve the distinctive black Oshima shade. Because this is a completely natural process dependent on its natural surroundings – climate, temperature and humidity – no two items will have the exact same shade, making each item unique.
Where to Buy Your Exclusive Filmelangé Mud-Dyed Collection Items
Filmelangé is hosting a special pop-up store at Ginza Six this fall, chosen because this area has a unique history of its own, as it conveys new ideas and traditions to Tokyo and beyond. To get your hands on your very own Filmelangé mud-dyed garb, head to one of their three locations (Jingumae, the new Ginza pop-up, or online) from November 7. Note that not all items are available at all stores, so check the website for more information closer to the collection’s release date.
Jingumae Store: Filmelangé 1F Syuwa Gaien Residence, 2-6-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Ginza Pop-up Store
Where: 4F Ginza Six, 6-10-1 Ginza,Chuo-ku
When: October 28-December 2
More info: filmelange.com