Lavenham Stories - Fit for Purpose
Our latest collaboration project sees us work with the renowned artist and designer Kosuke Tsumura. Tsumura first emerged onto the fashion scene in 1982 where he won the prestigious So-En prize and was quickly hired by Issey Miyake, who’s design studio he worked in until the 1990’s. In 1994 Tsumura he started his brand FINAL HOME and created his now iconic Survival Jacket.
We caught up with him to discuss the ideas behind the capsule, why he wanted to work with Lavenham and his ongoing projects.
Can you explain a little bit about the concept behind the jacket and gilet you have created with Lavenham, and what inspired them?
The starting point for the project was the environment and climate change as we are already starting to see the effects of human over consumption with more extreme weather. We wanted the project to have as little impact as possible, so we used materials already in the Lavenham factory - their recycled polyester and by-product off cuts for insulating. The garments are designed to help the wearer survive in a world where climate change is well underway and the environment as we know it has altered. The gaps and space within each piece can be filled with water to float, or off-cuts and plastic and paper to stay warm. Gaps and spaces are very important within my work, and when you remove the wadding from Lavenham’s quilt you are left with a space.
Your previous designs are often described as ‘dystopian’ and ‘survivalist’. Where did your fascination with the loss of home and life as we know it stem from?
Things protecting a human being start from the city or town, then the house, and finally the clothes. All these things offer protection to the body. When I thought about this, I thought that if the garment was designed to fit the environment perfectly, it could become just as good as a city or home at protecting the person on the event of one loosing their home. This sense of security is indispensable to the adventurous mind.
What drew you to work with Lavenham?
Lavenham is a brand that has remained deeply connected to its origins and has maintained its tradition of quality and craftmanship rather than being buffeted around by trends. For me the brand evokes feelings of nostalgia whilst remaining relevant for the present day.
Can you share with us any projects you are currently working on, whether in the world of art or fashion?
I am the director of a project called ‘I wear a city’ in Tokyo Biennale 2020-2021. The project picks up young talents, including myself, and sees them apply their recourse to fashion, in this case by using scrap materials from the traditional textile industry in Tokyo.
We also held a fashion show at a Shinto shrine, a park, and a Tokyo shopping street in addition to the gallery display.