Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wabi Sabi: Why Vintage is Revered in Japan

 As many of my readers know I have recently opened my own leather manufacturing and bespoke jacket business Himel Brothers Leather .  I have spent more years buying and selling vintage clothing then I can remember.  I am only now starting to piece together the real cumulative knowledge and memories from my years of buying and selling into a cohesive understanding of why my work was important.

 Recently a friend attended a conference and course on the Japanese way of Wabi Sabi.  Wabi Sabi as stated in the link is a way of understanding aesthetics in the world.  Wabi Sabi views objects in the world as imperfect, transient and in a constant state of decay.  The real core of the aesthetic is the way in which objects come into the world simply and modestly, and then decay and decompose and their beauty lies in their process of decay.

 Now I am not an expert on the study of Wabi Sabi but I have been inadvertently studying it for years.  Wabi Sabi looks at the imperfection of creation. Where limitations of materials and design lead to decay and repair and age.  The value of the design is also in the decay and transcendence of objects into dust, which often conveys a sense of loss and longing and nostalgia.  I never realized this aesthetic ideal is the very crux of why vintage clothing is so revered in Japanese culture.  Longing of a lost past, the craftsmanship of solid organic materials and simple human designs that over time show their age and beauty and become art objects of the sublime.