October 12, 2016

Jan Kath Exhibits Rug Collection Inspired by Japanese Boro Textiles

Shinichiro Ishibashi’s garments displayed with a Jan Kath rug at Kyle & Kath. Image courtesy of Kyle & Kath.

Jan Kath is exhibiting a rug collection inspired by the historic Japanese patchwork technique boro at its New York City showroom, Kyle & Kath. The showcase, also featuring original pieces by designer Shinichiro Ishibahi of bespoke men’s fashion brand KUON, provides insight into the storied art form and examines the technique’s contemporary applications.

 Ishibashi’s boro-inspired garments. Image courtesy of Kyle & Kath.

Boro first emerged in 17th-century Japan as a method for agricultural laborers to repair tattered kimonos, linens, and other textiles. The technique responds to the philosophies of mottainai, or “too-good-to-waste,” and wabi-sabi, the acceptance of imperfection, that have long influenced Japanese culture. Originally considered a sign of poverty, boro garments are now highly valued by fashion collectors for their exceptional beauty and narrative of rebirth.

Jan Kath’s BORO collection. Image courtesy of Kyle & Kath.

Over a decade ago, Jan Kath launched a collection of luxury rugs that closely replicates boro aesthetics, mixing fine Chinese silk, hand-spun Tibetan highland wool, and stinging-nettle fibers. “The look reminds me of a wall that has had many layers of paint applied to it, one on top of another, which are now peeling away,” says Kath. Now one of Kath’s most diverse and successful collections, the rugs are available in 16 colorways, including traditional indigo.

Jan Kath rugs hang behind mannequins wearing Ishibashi garments. Image courtesy of Kyle & Kath.

Displayed alongside the rugs are Ishibashi’s boro-inspired reconstructions. The designer cuts textiles into pieces, reassembling the scraps into modern, one-of-a-kind garments that stand out in today’s throwaway society. 

BORO: The Art of Repurpose will be on display at Kyle & Kath through October 28.  

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