We’ve all been reading about eco-friendly and the need to protect the environment. Last week, I heard an inspiring talk by Japanese textile designer Reiko Sudo at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts that made the idea resonate in a way that it hadn’t before.
Sudo began Nuno in 1984 to make Japan’s “lost art” more accessible to textile lovers in an eco-friendly way. Today, Sudo has 10 people working for her designing and creating fabrics and finished products, like the scarf below.
Nuno combines technology with artistry: “Threads with incompatible shrink ratios are… tossed into a hot dryer to yield sculptural textures. Metallic films are bonded to conventional threads, then melted to create transparent filigrees. Computer-programmed looms dance to digitally-enhanced African tribal patterns. Chemically-reprocessed Okinawan banana fibre-coated cottons complement laboriously hand-finished synthetics.”
Sudo was good enough to bring a bunch of sample textiles created by Nuno for the crowd to oogle (the next several photos are a few of the samples).
The red sample, my favorite, is made with strips of nylon tape stitched into all-over patterns. Doesn’t this look like wall art?
Sudo came to textile design almost by accident. She wanted to become a kimono artist but didn’t pass the entrance exam. Instead, she began to study textile design and became hooked on working with all kinds of materials, including plastic. Her studies became the foundation on which Nuno is based.
What also struck me is that Sudo applies the Buddhist belief of living lightly in the world to Nuno’s products. This means reusing scraps.
You can see in the pattern below how Nuno reuses small scraps and combines them with embroidery. Nuno also recycles polyester and nylon into new products in an effort to reduce waste.
The white and black fabric below is made from Kibisio, a rough silk by-product from the hard outer shell of the cocoon. When Sudo discovered that factories typically throw away silk cocoons because they are hard to work with, she figured out a way to create beautifully patterned and textured textiles out of the cocoons to make use of the “waste.”
In 2002, Sudo introduced Nuno Works, which offers handmade products, like clothing, socks, pillows and the scarves and bag shown here. You can even pick your own fabric and have Nuno adapt one of their patterns for you.
The colorful bag below features Entasis-form classical Greek columns on densely woven canvas sail cloth.
Here’s Reiko Sudo herself.
What a great example Nuno is setting for the fashion world and consumers alike.