Mima Osawa: ‘COVID-19 upended trend traits for the higher’

Mima Osawa, 27, grew up splitting her time between New Zealand and Japan. After an opportunity encounter with a textile store in Nagano Prefecture that specialised in promoting deadstock material, Osawa was impressed to start out Mono Handmade, a specialty clothes line that upcycles material, to do her half in making the style business extra sustainable.

Sense of fashion: Mima Osawa creates clothes with an eco-conscious method for her clothes line, Mono Handmade.

1. The place did you develop up? I used to be born in Japan and grew up in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Surrounded by nature (and sheep, after all), we had numerous freedom and didn’t want a lot to be joyful.

Simply as you think about New Zealand to be, it’s essentially the most lovely place. I’d immerse myself in nature by going tenting with household, and soaking within the solar on the shore with mates. My yard was my escape.

2. What introduced you to Japan? Being raised in a culturally numerous household with Japanese, Maori and European backgrounds — the opposite half of my household is in Japan. Going backwards and forwards between New Zealand and Japan has at all times been a routine for me.

3. When did you’ve your “fast-fashion awakening”? Throughout a go to to my grandma’s hometown in Nagano Prefecture, I walked right into a textile retailer solely to find that the gathering of materials it supplied was all extra discarded from different bigger producers within the trend business. It was surprising to see the limitless piles, all of which had been in excellent situation, simply sitting there amassing mud.

From then on, I began to analysis the impression of the style business (on our planet), solely to be extra shocked by the info and statistics.

4. Did that encourage you to start out Mono Handmade? Sure, 100%. If I’d by no means set foot in that retailer, I wouldn’t have been as conscious of the business as I must be. It’s additionally due to my mother, who has impeccable ability in making garments; her love for stitching should have rubbed off on me. Consequently, the selection was easy for me to take sustainability into my very own palms and to create items with an eco-conscious method.

5. Is there a narrative behind the model identify? “Mono” means “one.” Every Mono piece is handmade, making it distinctive. No two handmade gadgets are ever the identical.

6. How would you describe “deadstock” to somebody unfamiliar with the time period? “Deadstock” is the leftover stock that’s unused or discarded. Within the trend business, the important thing causes of deadstock can vary from materials or clothes having small imperfections to firms overestimating their orders.

7. What does the style business must do to develop into extra moral? We have to design new methods of manufacturing and consuming trend that excite and encourage with out inflicting irreversible injury to individuals and the surroundings. This includes contemplating key elements like moral labor, sustainable materials, a zero-waste philosophy and so forth. It’s essential to construct extra consciousness so we every have a greater understanding of what we will do to assist and contribute positively.

8. The place does Mono Handmade supply its materials? At present, all materials are sourced in Nagano Prefecture. I stay shut sufficient to have the ability to handpick every textile, deciding on supplies of top quality. With the suppliers having the identical purpose of repurposing and giving these materials a second probability, somewhat than going to waste, my relationship with suppliers has developed organically and naturally.

9. How do you make sure the deadstock material you supply is top of the range? One of many first issues to grasp about guaranteeing material high quality is realizing that several types of materials have completely different traits — so the requirements apply otherwise for every. A couple of key areas I take a look at embody fiber weave and coloration. Excessive-quality materials function fibers which are intently and tightly woven collectively, so I keep away from any materials with apparent gaps or loosely packed yarns that point out weak spot of fiber high quality. I additionally guarantee evenness within the tone of colours all through the floor of the material, avoiding any streaks.

Light feeling: Model Brennan Alexa shows off some of the garments available from Mono Handmade. | KENNA REED
Mild feeling: Mannequin Brennan Alexa exhibits off a number of the clothes obtainable from Mono Handmade. | KENNA REED

10. Who designs the items? I design all Mono items. In a nutshell, the method includes (a sequence of) steps from brainstorming concepts with tough sketches to structuring the shapes — the stage of sampling the designs — to lastly testing sturdiness, power, consolation and so forth.

11. Do you’ve plans to scale up the model sooner or later? Constructing this model has been a pure course of for me and I’d hope to scale it up by doing my half on this business. I’ll proceed to play my half by creating sustainable items whereas creating extra consciousness in regards to the impacts of this business — and we’ll see the place that takes us!

12. Is there an enormous type distinction between New Zealand and Japan? For my part, sure. Japan has an extremely full of life trend scene, and I really like that individuals are very expressive by their trend. On the similar time, they’re confronted with the hazard of quick trend, traits are very fast to return out and in.

The scene in New Zealand is completely different. Individuals are much less expressive by what they put on, however have extra consciousness of sustainability. There are numerous small startups, together with trend companies that target making constructive impacts, which is one thing I actually respect and admire.

13. How do you outline “timeless trend”? Timeless trend is when a design has survived many years and the quick tempo of the style world. In right now’s trend business, what was 4 seasons has been was 51, so designs usually exit of fashion as quick as they arrive in. Timeless trend, however, neither follows these traits nor loses its worth or attract.

14. Do you assume COVID-19 has modified clothes traits? I feel COVID-19 upended trend traits for the higher. It has been a name to the style business to decelerate, transfer away from mass manufacturing and take constructive motion. Moreover, customers are stocking up on comfy loungewear to do business from home and are procuring much less.

15. What’s the perfect factor individuals can do to lengthen the lifetime of their garments? Garment care. Each garment will ultimately put on out after repeated washes, however be aware that not all garments must be washed after each put on.

Additionally, relying on the fabric, some are designed to be washed by hand. Should you should use a machine then use low warmth and put delicate materials in a laundry bag to cut back tearing.

16. What’s one merchandise everybody ought to have of their wardrobe? Linen garments. I really like an merchandise the place the extra you put on it, the higher it will get. Linen will get softer, silkier and kinds a lovely and pure wrinkle after each wash. It’s additionally a pure fiber with low environmental impression, providing you with peace of thoughts.

17. Do you acquire something? I’ve a set of material offcuts. Whereas I attempt to upcycle deadstock materials for all Mono items, inevitably smaller offcuts will nonetheless be left after manufacturing. As a substitute of throwing them away, I maintain the smaller items for smaller clothes gadgets like pockets and hair scrunchies.

18. You need to “KonMari” your wardrobe and may maintain three items. What are they? My traditional, easy white T-shirt — one which I can attain for in a rush. It’s a minimal piece that anchors assertion items like printed or coloured pants. Then, a high-quality, cozy coat that can stand the check of time. It proves a pleasure to drag out of the wardrobe each winter. Lastly, a button-down shirt that was handmade by my mother. It’s one thing I’ve at all times valued, realizing the time and thought she put into it.

19. Is there something you miss about New Zealand once you’re in Japan? Moreover family and friends, I miss the Kiwi life — something from consuming fish and chips on the seaside on a summer time night to having an ideal flat white — New Zealand has wonderful espresso.

20. What’s your favourite phrase or phrase in any language, and why? My favourite Kiwi phrase — “She’ll be proper” — which merely signifies that every thing shall be OK. It’s a preferred expression utilized in New Zealand to emphasise an optimistic angle to life. I really like the simplicity of this phrase; it helps me to see the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel.

For extra data on the garments Mima Osawa makes, go to monohandmade.com.

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