Sunday, April 20, 2008

Carrying around the past

Hitomonokoto is an online shop and gallery based in Tokyo, selling a range of goods inspired by tradition but representing the sensibilities of today. The signature products on offer feature Asian textiles, reinvented in contemporary ways yet still retaining their heritage. This is no more true than in the limited edition SHIB tote bag. These rare totes (only 100 have been produced) are made from the original sakabukuro (literally translated as Sake crock's sack, which is made of very durable, fleeced fabric) - bags used as far back as the Edo period by Sake brewers to filter the drink. Persimmon juice gives the bag its awesome auburn sheen and was used as waterproofing and as an antibacterial agent, over the decades the colour has evolved into the beautiful tones we see today (NB. No two SHIB will be the same colour). Although the fabric fell out of use and favour after WWII Hitomonokoto have been collecting the remaining sacks and have been working with a top leather craftsman to stitch the lining fabric, handles and trim. Even the lining is steeped in history. The lining being made from Japanese Kimono and Obi fabrics, the one featured in this months Monocle combined red, blue and white, it was a Japanese fire fighters uniform the 1950s (Hanten) but other fabrics include Tairyo-Bata (fisherman's flag to wish a large catch and to signal a large catch tot he family).

The Tairyo-Bato fabric

Thom at The Sunday Best wrote about a legacy bag, a leather bag he could pass onto his, well at the moment, theoretical children. A bag which he would use until they were of age to fight over it...well...this is my legacy bag...if only I knew how much it costs...or maybe ignorance truly is bliss.

Regardless of the price this tote truly symbolises the ideology of Style Salvage and demonstrates the importance of history and subtle creativity to menswear. I like the good people at Hitomonokoto hope the sake sack of yesteryear can live on for decades to come as a useful Tote bag, both for the likes of me and my nippers.

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