According to Masayuki Ino, the pandemic has wrapped the world in a big blanket of sameness. Everyone is following similar rules of behavior; politics and social media are pushing us to conform to normative lifestyles. Under the circumstances, it’s obvious that we all share hope for a brighter future, and we’re all looking in the same direction. It’s a sort of necessary disposition. But Ino doesn’t buy into it.
“I feel uncomfortable walking along roads that are being established by society,” he said through an interpreter from his studio in Tokyo, ahead of his Doublet live fashion show. “Being too well-behaved and serious isn’t my thing.” Ino is equally annoyed by a certain reverential attitude towards sustainability: “People say, ‘Oh it’s so cool, these clothes are environmentally friendly.’ Of course it’s very important to be sustainable. But fashion isn’t great just because it’s sustainable”.
Ino thinks that fashion has to keep us excited and happy and trigger conversations and dreams. Fashion has to make people smile—while, of course, being sustainable. So what’s the solution? “Rebellious punk fashion with environmentally-friendly materials is here!” he said. “Let’s make bad-behavior clothes in a good, responsible way.”
A lo-fi punk DIY attitude has been flagged by quite a few designers this season; it has to do with a feel of creative rebellion pent up during the pandemic, which is now given free rein through highly-individual, homemade, defiant, imaginative disorder. There’s always beauty in chaos. Ino’s take on punk isn’t as abrasive and provocative as it is humorous in a childish, almost tender way. Sustainability in his hands seems to become playful and a bit bonkers—even if extensive research on cutting-edge innovative technology is actually involved.
The results of Ino’s approach to punk sustainability are whimsical—and really make you smile. Or at least that’s what I did when I was shown the collection through the screen. In true Japanese obsessive-pursuit-of-perfection mindset, he went quite radical in his lo-fi organic approach to dyes, yarns and various ingenious responsible techniques. Examples include an organic canvas oversized denim trucker jacket dyed with the liquid extracted from food waste. “It’s a gutter-like color, isn’t it?” he proudly underlined. Threads made from discarded banana leaves were woven into a knitted sweat, curved into a banana shape; further adding a realistic flip, the black stains of a rotten banana were reproduced through jacquard techniques. A roomy jumper made from yarns extracted from milk proteins was dyed with coffee: “It has become like a caffe latte!” said Ino. On the same note, fungi-generated leather was rendered into a black, hard-punk rider jacket with a poisonous amanita phalloides hand painted on its back. A dye from macerated onion exodermis was used to dye a nylon bomber jacket; vintage denims were pasted together and hard pressed, then thinly sliced into a new denim fabric that replicates the wood rings of tree trunks.
The list could go on. Last but not least, a Japanese embroidery technique so incredibly realistic it can reproduce the minutiae of photographic images was applied to a denim perfecto whose pockets, zippers, studs and buttons were actual trompe-l’oeil. Even the ripped effects were illusions. “Metallic hardware, plastic parts and denim dyes are pollutants,” said Ino. “This is damaged, un-damaged and un-damaging denim. It’s kind to the environment.”