French designer Clementine Sandner founded Mikan to promote the traditional beauty of Japanese fabrics.
I introduced the handcrafted designs of Mikan in the Sustainable Xmas Shopping article last December. I’m so excited to have the chance to talk with the talented Mikan founder, Clementine Sandner, this morning about her work #upcycling disused Japanese materials from kimono and obi to create new, modern uses for the traditional material to give it new life.
Fast-fashion destroys People + Planet
Our modern lifestyles focused on convenience have created many monsters, one of them is fast-fashion, the huge retail chains which produce clothing quickly and sell it cheaply across the world. There are dangers to the people who make the clothes as the manufacturing factories do not adhere to safety codes or workplace ethics.
The overuse of resources and pollution it creates in sourcing materials, creating products and destroying products accounts for more environmental damage than all international flights. It’s much better to choose only clothes and accessories that you truly love which you can wear for many years and pass on to friends and family for further use.
Take Time to Shop Wisely
One positive effect of being stuck at home is that it allows us time to be better shoppers and choose items wisely. There is no pressure to appear at work or school in new outfits on a daily basis. This is a great time to invest in signature pieces that you can enjoy wearing for more than 10 years. It’s actually just as easy to shop from Mikan’s online Etsy shop as it is to shop from one of the online fast-fashion retailers.
High-quality handmade items like those made by Mikan by Clementine Sandner are certainly more expensive than a quick buy from UNIQLO, H&M, Gap, Zara or other fast-fashion retailers, but they have so much more value to you as the customer. Additionally, supporting handcrafted wearable artwork, like you’ll find at MIKAN, helps create greater #socialequity in Japan as these traditional textiles are brought back into modern use.
Cradle-to-Cradle vs Cradle-to-Grave
Extending the life of materials and products by reusing and upcycling them (making old things into new products) has much less environmental impact than buying new products and throwing them out.
Finding new uses for existing materials and products is sometimes termed cradle-to-cradle and buying new products then discarding them is called cradle-to-grave.
The reuse of traditional materials in new ways to suit modern lifestyles is a tribute to the original craftspeople and traditional design. Designs like Mikan’s made with such care- highlights and celebrates the original design– which is a show of reverence for Japanese heritage.
In Japan, we rarely see people walking along in beautiful kimono in the hustle of our modern lives. Bringing these patterns and motifs into modern use is a great way to regenerate interest in this aspect of Japanese culture that seems to be disappearing.
Colorful Fun during our Quarantine Lifestyle
In these #stayhome days, we spend most of our time indoors to slow the spread of #COVID19 so it’s a great time to invest in a few high-value items to enhance our once a week excursion to the grocery store, or other essential trips out.
Even if you don’t wear it out, it’s fun to have around. I bought a colorful Mikan original for my daughter and it brightens up our house whenever she puts it on.
Exciting Online Sewing Courses
Founder of Mikan, Clementine will have some upcoming online sewing courses available soon. Soon, you will be able to sign up to learn some of her techniques for creating these original, beautiful pieces for yourself.
There will be an added value CODE for those of you who saw it here on InboundAmbassador to use- so stay tuned for more details coming soon!