Vollebak’s New Jacket Pays Homage To The Japanese Art of Sashiko

Reinforced with one million high-strength stitches using an ancient Japanese stitching technique, Vollebak’s latest collection promises durability.
by Richard Ng

Photo: Vollebak

UK-based apparel brand Vollebak is no stranger to extreme clothing seemingly born out of science-fiction. They’ve got ridiculously cold-resistant outerwear, incredibly durable hoodies and even light-absorbing jackets. All of these are contingent on the wonders of modern technology like space-age fabrics and ultra-hardy nylons – but it doesn’t mean Vollebak that can’t learn from the past. Enter their newly-released Sashiko range.

Featuring embroidery stitching that dates back to the Japanese Edo period


Photo: Vollebak

Sashiko refers to an ancient Japanese art hailing from the Edo era (between 1603 and 1867) where decorative hand-stitches are used to patch up tattered garments. This form of embroidery, which translates to ‘little stabs’, meant that clothes – a precious resource then, in the pre-industrial age – could be used long beyond their normal lifespan.

These garments would progressively collect mended rips, tears and the wear of time like a badge of honour, with the embroidered stitches telling a story of their own – akin to the Japanese art of kintsugi, or mending broken pottery with gold.

But what if you didn’t wait until your beloved jacket starts to show signs of aging, and instead proactively applied sashiko-style stitches ahead of time, layering warm and comfy high-grade cotton with some 5.5 kilometres’ worth of meta-aramid thread, spread across a million stitches.

Made with high-strength, fire-retardant fibre


Photo: Vollebak

The result? Vollebak claims, is a jacket that’s “soft and extremely comfortable to wear”, but also “tough and hard-wearing”. Aramid, after all, is the same high-strength, fire-retardant fibre you’d find in firefighter jackets and military garb, as well as Vollebak’s other creations.

The stitching pattern also makes for very attractive clothing. Traditional geometric sashiko patterns included the motifs of arrows, lightning or bamboo, but Vollebak’s version, naturally, comes studded with Vs. It is as much art as it is a labour of love, as it takes three days for the embroidery to be completed for each piece of clothing.

There is currently a sweatshirt and jacket version up for grabs, but fair warning – it’s not cheap. These cost £445 (S$717) and £595 (S$959) respectively.

This story originally published on thepeakmagazine.com.sg

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