The Impact of Japanese Culture on Textile
In recent years, the Japanese have become more accustomed to wearing western
style clothing. This is due to the convenience and global acceptance of western
styles and fashions. The Japanese have a rich unique cultural history of textile and
fashion. The techniques, features and fabrics of the kimono are still widely used in
contemporary textile designs.
Impact of the Kimono on Western Textiles and Fashion
The kimono is a Japanese traditional garment. Traditionally kimonos have been worn
by both men and women. The word kimono literally means "clothing", it is also called
Gofuku which means clothes of Wu, and up until the mid19th century was the form of
dress worn by everyone in Japan.
The image of the kimono first made themselves known in the fashion world as textile
design motifs. Through Paris fashion the Japanese style gained in popularity and
spread across Europe. Lyon, which had been known for its production of silk textiles
since the fifteenth century, became in the second half of the nineteenth century a
vital manufacturing centre for the materials of the new Paris haute-couture system.
Lyon silk manufacturers competed aggressively with one another, displaying their
products at the increasingly numerous international expositions. The passion for
things Japanese was evident in the design motifs and weaving techniques of the
textiles they exhibited. Charles-Frederick Worth was one of those drawn to
Japonism, incorporating various elements of it into his creations beginning in the late
1880s. Clothes by Worth made of Lyon silks displayed Japanese influence in
embroidered Japanese-style motifs, asymmetrical placement of motifs on dresses,
and a painterly approach to pattern design, in which the entire surface of the
garment is treated as a single design field of canvas, a mode of decoration common
in Japanese kimono.
Beginning in 1907, the expressions Le Japon and le kimono came into general use,
particularly among women, while fashion magazines ran photographs of the kimono
silhouette, kimono sleeves over-lapping kimono closures, and trailing kimono hems.
In 1974 Issey Miyake showed a collection based on the essential concepts of
Japanese clothing: flat construction and a piece of cloth hung on the body without
eliminating any excess, letting gravity have its way. The space (ma) thus created
between garment and body forms the significant difference between Western and
Japanese clothes. Pioneered by Kenzo Takada and Miyake, oversized clothes,
liberated from curved seaming and darts, and layering became the standards for
fashion in the 1970s. In the late 1980s Miyake once again received accolades, this
time for his innovative Pleats series. The technology of pleating has, of course,
existed since ancient times, but he extended the elasticity inherent in pleats beyond
the boundaries of earlier clothes. Miyake turned the process upside down. By using
a new method of pleating the finished garment, he...