Our shibori collection is a work of art; each hand dyed by one of the most talented and inspirational people we’ve ever met. Since you couldn’t all be in our masterclasses, here’s a brief history of this ancient art.
Shibori is an ancient cloth dying technique originating in 8th century Japan, though ancient artefacts are now being found across Africa, India and South America. In 700 AD silk was outlawed in Japan for everyone but the emperor, and so his subjects wore cotton, embellished for special occasions with readily available natural indigo dye (which eventually became known as the dye of the people).
From humble roots has grown a rare art form, including some of the most beautiful kimonos the world has ever seen – the most special of which took, and still take, several shibori experts working together an entire year to complete. In these instances, they use an incredibly skilled and painstaking process where lightweight silk is tightly wrapped in tiny sections and secured with even tinier stitches. The fabric is then immersed in huge pots of indigo dye and once dried, thousands of these tiny stitches are carefully undone to reveal the bespoke pattern which remains where the fabric has resisted the indigo. For everyday garments, without the $50,000 price tag, shibori patterns are created by twisting, knotting, stitching and tying the fabric to create resists before immersing the fabric.
An in-depth study of shibori is the unveiling of a social and cultural history (just spend 5 minutes with Niki and you’ll be entranced) - here’s some recommended reading here, here and here if we’ve caught your fancy.
Indigo: Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans
Adire cloth in Nigeria: The preparation and dyeing of indigo patterned cloths among the Yoruba
Indigo: The Colour that Changed the World
top image from here