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View of “Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics,” 2020.

View of “Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics,” 2020.

“Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics”

Japan Society

Let’s stop promoting the nefarious free-market myth that sustainability is a choice, as if it were something that could be plucked from a delectable buffet of options. The at-hand presence of resources that can be used—or exploited—is less likely to guarantee quality than perhaps to inspire overindulgence.

The Japanese folk tradition of boro—patched or mended textiles—and the contemporary designers and artists whose work adopts its spirit offer a timely statement on making do. Boro can be translated as “rags,” traditionally produced by the residents of Aomori, the northernmost prefecture on Japan’s central island. The practice of reworking or appending scraps of secondhand cotton fabric onto well-used hemp clothes or bedding elevates the tattered into the realm of the exquisite by extending the life of a garment or by making a comforter thicker and warmer for a harsh Tohoku winter. Instead

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