Used clothing "Recessionista"

14 Nov

Recession + Fashionable = Recessionista
20/JUN/2009 on air

There is a factory that collects as much as 12 tons of used clothing per day in Japan. It has 100 tons of used clothing in stock any time, but it’s only 1% that is reused inside Japan. 99% is exported to south east Asia.

Recessionista means those who make new fashion trends with used clothing. Recessionista girls come to the factory to pick out some used clothing in order to make remake clothing within 5 days. 3000 yen is given as allowance for them to buy some extra materials if necessary. They compete for remake fashion with used clothing.

What’s “Recessionista”? It means still fashionable in spite of recession. It’s not Japaninglish or something, it’s an eye-catching word in fashion industry today. It’s said Sarah Jessica Parker was a starter when she appeared on the red carpet with vintage dress on.

Now let’s take a look at each candidate for Tokyo Recessionista Collection.
No.1. Yuu Kimura: She is also well-known as a member of the kawaii ambassador of remake fashion.
No.2. Tsukamoto-san: Her fashion concept is girly bunny. Leg warmers are originally from sleeves of a sweater. The bag is also from another sweater. The hem of a skirt has become the neck. Controlling undergarment is turned to be bustier-looking dress. She dyed white part of the clothes with tea to make them antique-looking.
No.3. Takahashi-san: She used kimono to make all-in-one pants. It’s cool she used kimono emblem as a button. It’s said Japanese work clothes are remarkable in foreign countries. Takahashi-san works from home. She modifies old clothing to make something new. Her father’s death made her start this business. She liked her father so much and that’s why she wanted to wear his shirt all the time after his death. Modifying his shirt to make something for her to wear was the beginning of this job. She passes out flyers everyday to ask people if they are interested in renewing their old clothing they are not wearing any more. Kimono is a good example. We could easily miss chances of wearing kimono. That’s why it’s likely that we just keep kimono inside the closet without wearing them again. Then why don’t we modify them to something we can casually wear more often?

Who is Japanese top Recessionista? Nakano-san makes jeans from remnants. The jacket made of abandoned tents or jute bags is popular in the U.S, but it’s actually made in Japan. At the exhibition, the company that showed the jacket received many orders from Italy and France, which turned out 200 jackets for US$40,000 in 3 days. “I think the Japanese do the best job in the world, in terms of cutting, sewing, fine technology, and not to speak of sensitivity!” says Tekeuchi-san.

Skateboard art is suggested by Hirossha-san. He makes accessories or display toys from skateboard.

Going back to the Tokyo Recessionista Collection…
No.4. Ako-san: She used T-shirts into skirt and hood. The belt made of pull-tops of can is not her idea, it was taught by Mexican people while she was travelling in Mexico.
No.5. Tomi-san: She drew on the T-shirt by herself, because her core business is illustrator. She opened craft shop for remake clothing 2 years ago. She even used a small decoration of chrysanthemum from packed sushi to make a ring.
No.6. Marinko-san and Sora-chan, a mom and a daughter: The mom got into remake when her daughter was born. She opened a remake shop in Shimokitazawa 2 years ago. Remake clothing for kids are popular among mothers who want to dress their kids only-one clothing.

Because of recession, we do not buy new clothes as we used to do. We’d try to fix them instead of throwing them away. Reform studio, a professional fixer of clothes for example, increased their sales by 50% compared from last year.

There is even a school to teach how to fix clothes. Such school used to offer hobby level of classes mainly targeted for housewives, but these days their students are 20s who want to be professionals.

Gyaru fashion also is related with used clothing and there is a magazine specialized in Gyaru-kei used clothing fashion, “used Jelly“.

There are also manga with its theme of second-hand clothing such as “Hechima Milk” or “Sumomo-chan”.

Tokyo Recessionista Collection
No.7. Satoh-san: Lolita maid fashion
No.8. Yanagawa-san: She is a high school student (JK=Joshi Kousei, high school girl) who tried modifying clothes for the first time. She used a leash as a belt.
No.9. Kudoh-san: The eye bandage is part of fashion. Her fashion concept is visual-kei.

Kirin’s opinion:
After watching this episode, I felt like buying a sewing machine to make something new from my old clothing even though I am so bad at sewing stuff. Modifying old clothes and creating something very unique looks sooo interesting and creative! This must be sooo fun!! I wish I were good at sewing. I have too many sad stories about sewing in my school days. 😦


12 Responses to “Used clothing "Recessionista"”

  1. Sara Mari November 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

    I think it's a great idea to re-make used clothing, something out of style into style~! I would love to try this, I can sew but when I see some used clothing I am not creative enough to envision it in a new way. Repairing clothing instead of tossing them out is very good too, I always try to keep my clothes good for as long as possible haha^^

    • kirin November 16, 2009 at 1:57 am #

      You' re right! I am kind of person who like to get things organized all the time. This sounds good, but the dark side of it is that I throw things away very easily. This is also because of my small house to live in. But I wonder how many times I regret having thrown away clothes I didn't wear any more for a while. Several years later, it's possible that the vogue that has gone could come back or the popular colors revive. Or my taste can change. I just remember my pink colored coat that I disposed of long time ago. But I feel like wearing it today. It's too late… T_T

  2. sparklewolfie November 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    that is awesome! I got started in sewing because I started modifying my old Theatre t-shirts 🙂 You should give it a try!

    • kirin November 16, 2009 at 1:37 am #

      That sounds fun! XD

  3. Lisa November 23, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    Ohh, I meant to comment on this earlier and totally forgot!
    I recently found out that a lot of Japanese sewing magazines (for clothes) and even books are becoming popular here in Europe, even (or especially?) among those who don't speak Japanese and don't really intend to learn either. The reason is that in the Japanese books and magazines, the measurements and patterns are so clear that it's very easy to understand even without the language skills. I found this very interesting, since I have difficulty even in my own language to figure out instructions sometimes haha!

    Also, not clothing related, but amigurumi is getting incredibly popular here too. I understand why… those characters are so cute!!!

    • kirin November 23, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

      I think Japanese HOW TO books are very kind with details and many pictures. I wish I had another me who are into those books, sewing, and DIY works… :p There are always too many attractive things in the world for one to try. It's a pitty we had to choose only a few from them and give up the rest. 😦

      • Lisa November 23, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

        Yes, I agree… there are so many things I'd love to try (like Decotti, for example! ^^) but time, money… etc. I wish I could have lessons in everything, all the time! hehe ^^

  4. Chloe Anderson September 10, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    when i travel in Alaska, i always use leg warmers to get more comfortable;’~

  5. Gum Disease Symptoms : October 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    leg warmers will be more useful in the coming winter months, i gotta grab one on the local store~:*

  6. Digital Caliper December 14, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    i often use leg warmers during the cold months and specially this DEcember “`

  7. Arlen September 12, 2011 at 7:13 am #



  1. Tweets that mention Enjoy Recessionista during bad economy! | Tokyo Kawaii, etc. -- - November 14, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BlogLinkJapan and Koiyuki, wintermuted. wintermuted said: 50% Gaudy, but Conceptually All Awesome. RT @Koiyuki Behold how Japan dresses on the cheap-> […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: