Boro: History and Method

Boro shot from Kapital's FW2019

Boro is a technique of Japanese textile creation that involves patching together disparate fabrics to achieve a rich, overlapping montage of texture.


The method emerged in the Edo period, a necessity for peasants whose clothes would break down after days of back-breaking labor. During the Meiji Restoration, when Japanese feudalism collapsed into industrial modernity, the boro of the peasantry gave way to mass-produced garments designed to support the lifestyles of factory workers.


In the hands of 20th century visionaries like Kiro Hirata, the magic of Edo textiles have returned as sashiko-stitched boro patchwork has made its way back into contemporary Japanese high fashion.


In its overlapping tatters, Boro communicates a complex economic history of class conflict and social change, a history artisans like Hirata weld to the iconologies of our day to craft precise meditations on history, place, and struggle.


The intricacy and handcrafted excellence of contemporary boro can be seen in pieces like these AW2013 jeans, by Kapital, which are now available for purchase on the new Shop Don’t Tell website.


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