SHOHEI. LOOKS GOOD. FEELS GOOD. DOES GOOD
So what is Kakishibu anyway, and why should I care about it?
First of all, if you care about the planet, you should care about dyes. That is, you should care about whether or not your clothes are dyed naturally or synthetically. Until well into the 19th century, most of our clothes were dyed using organic, rather than synthetic compounds – but this all changed with the mass-industrialisation of textile manufacturing and the development of synthetic dyes along with it. Now, as with so many other things that seemed like innovations at the time, the creation of cheap, seemingly abundant synthetic replacements for natural substances has taken a significant toll on the environment. The production of synthetic dyes discharges harmful chemicals into waterways, resulting in the death of aquatic life, the toxification of soil and damage to the quality of drinking water for local populations.
By the way, did we mention that synthetic dyes are not only bad for the planet, but for you, the wearer, as well? Synthetic dyes have been shown to cause skin irritation, dermatitis and upper-respiratory tract complications.
But a new generation of socially-minded makers are returning to using only natural dyes and dyeing processes. SHOHEI is one of them – and its unique Kakishibu dye defines the palette of its collections.
Kakishibu is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique that uses the fermented tannin juice from unripe persimmon fruit – a wholly natural process. Produced in Kyoto, Kakishibu dyes have both powerful antibacterial and antioxidant effects, as well as being water repellent.
After applying the natural dye to fabric, the sun tans the textile, deepening hues over time. The result is an autumnal colour palette ranging from beige to muted and rich oranges, golden browns, deep ambers and rich red-browns, shown here on the SHOHEI Ren Dress, made with 100% GOTS certified cotton.
This colour continuum marries Kakishibu to the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi: the art of finding beauty in imperfection. SHOP THE COLLECTION @SHOHEI
TEXT by P. Marcus Browne