The Japanese brand Gaijin Made just showed up stateside with an installation and American debut collection at 180 the Store in New York City. Previously available only in Japan, the brand offers handmade clothing and accessories inspired by textiles from around the world. The collection is part of the same company that crafts garments for respected indigo-centric brand Blue Blue Japan and is influenced by vintage Burkina Faso fabrics, Indian Kantha embroidery and Peruvian hand knitting.
The collection ranges in price $85 to $723 and will be available starting tonight — at the installation’s opening reception — through the end of November at 180 the Store in Tribeca. Before the opening event, we caught up with Rina Shingu, Seilin and Co. International Sales Division Manager, to learn about the inspiration behind the garments, the unique nature of hand-woven African fabric and the brand’s ongoing mission.
Q: What was the inspiration for starting Gaijin Made?
A: Upon seeing various delicate handcraft techniques from around the world and the passion that goes into it, an idea to combine such handcraft methods and fine basic garments came to us.
Q: What crafts from around the world are you drawn to and what makes them special?
A: We produce garments from various materials; for instance, African vintage fabric, Thailand’s hand-woven fabric, Batik and indigo dyed textiles, just to name a few. As well, we continue searching for new methods. The authentic handcraft methods and textiles are what makes simple clothes special and unprecedentedly unique.
Q: What happens to a classic men’s garment when you incorporate these world textiles and techniques into it?
A: We often combine standard garments with world textiles and patterns that bring a piece of clothing more charm. Classical men’s garments fused with handcraft techniques gain a feeling of authenticity and innovation. Many of the crafted designs, as well, are meant to develop a distinct quality through time depending on the wearer’s lifestyle, thus becoming one and only.
Q: Are there any current pieces you’re especially proud of?
A: We enjoy designing standard cut garments from African vintage fabric. It is a special fabric that has an exceptional feeling to it, different from denim. The African vintage fabric is hand wreathed, woven and dyed, therefore there are no two pieces that are identical. We intend to continue making garments from this outstanding textile for years to come.
Q: What does the future have in store for the Gaijin Made?
A: Our garments are steadily gaining attention from various people, whether men or women, who seek lasting standard garments made from unique textiles. So far we have found various distinctive handcraft methods, but we keep searching for new interesting fabrics and designs.
In the future, we hope to create our own one-of-a-kind fabric. It has become our mission to find and incorporate outstanding designs and textiles with comfortable clothes that could be worn by anyone around the world. To achieve this, we are working on establishing ourselves internationally in the fashion industry.
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