Sudo Reiko Landing page banner2

Shared by friends and collaborators of Japan House London, 'Words & Thoughts' is a collection of words, characters or phrases in Japanese which are particularly poignant to them or for our time.

Sudō Reiko, whose work was displayed in MAKING NUNO Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko, is one of Japan’s most influential contemporary textile designers, renowned for creating innovative textiles, championing new sustainable manufacturing methods and working to highlight Japanese textile heritage. 

She shares: 襤褸 ('boro': rag, shabby)

"There is a Japanese saying ‘I may wear rags ('boro') but my heart is brocade ('nishiki'),’ meaning that we should not judge people by their appearance. Both brocade and rags are types of cloth, one being more obviously embellished with expensive gold and silver threads. Yet in the far north of Japan, where it is too cold to grow cotton or flax, people invented a way of beautifully stitching together scraps of cloth precious to them, to extend their useful life while making them thicker and stronger against the harsh climate and hard field work. This practice of re-using every piece of fabric to the very last goes against today’s fast fashion trends, but as we come to appreciate sustainability more and more, I do feel that 'boro' thinking is of great importance. It makes for 'nishiki' in our hearts."