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Japanese Emptiness: A cultural approach on sustainability

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Japanese Emptiness: A cultural approach on sustainability

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Samenvatting

QUOTES “[This research] intends to show how aspects of the Japanese cultural meaning of sustainability could serve as inspiration towards a more harmonious and egoless approach without even using the word ‘sustainability’.” “The concept of sustainability nowadays is seemingly so universal at first glance, but is this really the case? Actually, several opinions, including my own, deriving from the origin of sustainability and its development today, reveal a significantly Western-dominated concept. […] all that is understood as sustainability in Japan, especially in the context of the fashion industry, is defined by the Western point of view.” “[All] philosophies, values, sensitivities and aesthetics […] in relation to sustainability, can all be linked to the concept of Emptiness (MU) in Japan, its sustainable approach is deeply rooted in culture, therefore never in need for a specific term defining the concept. “’Mottainai’ is Japanese, which can be translated to ‘too good to waste’, an expression deeply rooted in everyday life. This statement implies that the Japanese culture contains aspects of sustainability, and this culture is a promising base of more conscious actions towards sustainability in fashion. However, […] internet research with the keywords ‘Sustainable Fashion’ in the Japanese language quickly reveals: only Western brands are mentioned as examples and pioneers. From this, a disconnection of national culture from the global sustainability movement in the fashion sector is visible.” “[Another] example: the cultural value of self-restraint, one aspect reflecting the concept of Japanese Emptiness, results in the philosophy of acceptance over appetite. But rather than restricting a certain level of lifestyle, it drives the innovation of intelligently thought through designs with a high level of sensitivity. This aesthetic of subtraction results in seeing quality in simplicity.” RESEARCH QUESTION What can the Western-dominated sustainability movement in fashion learn from a (Japanese) cultural meaning of sustainability? SUB-QUESTIONS 1. How can ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Culture’ be defined? 2. How can the sustainability movement in fashion be described, and what are the recent critical happenings around the movement? 3. To what extent is the sustainability movement in fashion a Western one, and what impact does this have on a non-Western (Japanese) fashion industry? 4. What is the Japanese cultural meaning of sustainability? 5. How is the Japanese cultural concept of sustainability and the modern Western concept of sustainability reflected in Japanese designers and brands? ARTICLE The article is based on the research findings. It was written as intended for readers of the life style magazine The Cut. Its title is: ‘Why a constant dialogue with culture is what is missing in sustainability: Japan’

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OrganisatieHogeschool van Amsterdam
OpleidingAMFI - Amsterdam Fashion Institute
AfdelingMedia, Creatie en Informatie
Jaar2019
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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