The Indigo Patchwork Necktie by Olaf Olsson is a heavy weight cotton printed with traditional Japanese Sashiko patterns arranged in a random patchwork. This tie gets it’s inspiration from the long history of the Japanese folk art known as Boro and the decorative stitching technique called Sashiko. This functional embroidery technique was traditionally used to strengthen well worn garments, but in modern times is often purely decorative. Sashiko and Boro also represents the idea of re-use and the valuing of well made things that are meant to be kept and cherished for a long time. It’s beauty also suggests that mending to “make do” is not enough, one must also mend to make beautiful.
Mottainai (もったいない ?, “Don’t Waste”)
Sashiko is a form of embroidery. It was used to prolong the life of fabrics and garments in Japan using decorative, geometric patterns of cotton thread. It was considered a folk textile as it was mainly practiced by the peasant classes in Japan. Sashiko has it’s beginnings with rural people in the Northern regions of Japan during the Edo period (1615 to 1868). The name Sashiko or “little stabs” is a reference to the plain running stitch that sashiko uses to create it’s geometric patterns. Sashiko patterns are created to have a pleasing aesthetic, and great care is taken to use regular stitches and precise amounts of space between stitches. The fabric used to make the Indigo Patchwork necktie and bow tie by Olaf Olsson has a number of classic Sashiko patterns.
During the Edo period in Japan the lower classes were restricted from using materials such as silk and were reliant upon cotton, linen, and hemp. Up until the 19th century fabrics such as cotton and linen were woven and dyed by hand in Japan. This made this type of cloth a precious commodity that represented a great deal of labor. Because of this, even small amounts of fabric were considered valuable. Sashiko has a distinctive look that comes from the use of white cotton thread used on traditionally dyed indigo fabric. The white thread is sewn with geometric patterns, with common motifs being flowers, waves, bamboo, overlapping diamonds, and hexagons. The technique uses special large needles and thick cotton thread.
Boro is a technique of mending using Sashiko stitching. Boro in Japanese translates as “tattered rags”. The technique creates a patchwork like effect that combines multiple shades of indigo blue fabrics that are quilted together with complex sashiko stitches that greatly extend the life of clothing and garments. The Indigo Patchwork necktie and bow tie by Olaf Olsson are both made from cotton that is a traditional deep blue indigo. Given the value of cottons and linens at this time in Japan mending garments was a necessity. Boro was used to cover holes and reinforce worn areas. Boro was also used to make garments warmer and more waterproof. Once material became to worn for garments it was often reused for other things such as bags, aprons, and cleaning cloths.
Mottainai is a Japanese term that conveys a sense of regret when it comes to wasting things. The Boro technique of mending garments comes from this some what forgotten value of ‘mottainai’ or ‘non waste’, and is a concept that is seriously lacking in the modern lifestyles of consumerism. Boro is the pinnacle of this type of thinking and takes shabby chic to a dizzying height with garments that have been sewn together over generations.
Indigo Patchwork Necktie
The Indigo Patchwork Necktie by Olaf Olsson is a heavy weight cotton printed with traditional Japanese Sashiko patterns arranged in a random patchwork. The tie is a deep indigo blue with light tan geometric patterns, florals, and waves. This tie gets it’s inspiration from the long history of the folk art of Boro and decorative stitching technique called Sashiko. All Olaf Olsson neckwear is MADE BY HAND IN THE USA from 100% cotton from JAPAN.