“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.”
A beautiful wrap.
An elegant square.
Hold precious inside.
While you travel somewhere.
To cherish what you love.
To show that you care.
Mindful of why,
and what, you wear.
About a decade ago I heard about
the Japanese philosophy of aesthetics,
and how these aesthetic ideals
pervade much of Japanese culture.
From Ikebana (flower arrangement),
to Kintsugi (the art of repairing broken pottery),
and Chado (the Tea Ceremony).
Many of these Japanese arts have
over the past thousand years,
been influenced by
Zen and Mahayana philosophy;
and treated like a spiritual practice.
Attention in the moment.
Being fully present.
Like a meditation.
I was inspired by this philosophy of reverence.
And to imbue this feeling of
experience around the shoes;
that level of appreciation.
It’s a part of the story.
And intimates the values.
Creating a connection.
initially an unassuming
square of fabric,
has a long and unique story
in Japan’s history.
One with ethical connotations.
In 8th century Japan, during the Nara Period (710-794),
the Japanese used a purposely made,
square piece of fabric called a ‘hokei-fuhaku’;
to wrap special items of value.
Primarily these were precious goods
and treasures found in Japanese temples;
including garments worn by Buddhist priests.
This act of wrapping, or producing a parcel,
was called ‘tsutsumi’; the art of packaging,
During the following Heian Period of 794-1185,
the cloth became known as ‘kokomo utsumi’,
and was mostly used to wrap clothing.
And then, over time becoming known
as the ‘hira zutsumi’;
the flat folded bundle.
The name furoshiki was applied during the Muromachi period, (1336 – 1573).
(Furo meaning “bath” and shiki meaning “to spread.”)
The story goes that the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
installed a large bathhouse
within the residence he had built in the city of Kyoto.
And invited feudal lords to stay and use the facility.
These guests would wrap their kimonos in furoshiki cloth,
often adorned with family crests and emblems,
so as to not confuse them with others’ while they bathed.
Public baths became an integral part of Japanese culture.
and the communal bathhouses were believed
to foster emotional kinship in Japanese society.
It wasn’t until the Edo Period (1603-1868) that these square wraps
became popular with all members of society.
Being used while attending the communal bathhouses
to protectively wrap and prevent mix-up of their clothes.
And to stand on them while drying.
Since then, Furoshiki became the traditional,
way to wrap or carry items of value;
the Japanese considering the presentation
of a gift or product just as important as what’s inside.
Given that the tradition of using a Furoshiki
was for protecting and transporting
belongings, gifts, or goods.
It could wrap a gift, or be transformed in to a bag.
It was meant to be used and re-used.
In 2006 Ms Yuriko Koike,
(then Minister of the Environment, now governor of Tokyo),
promoted her “Mottainai Furoshiki”
as a reminder that the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth
is the perfect alternative to plastic bags;
“It’s one of the symbols of traditional Japanese culture,
and puts an accent on taking care of things and avoiding waste.”
“I think that thoughtfulness and manners are everything.”
: Diana Vreeland
Each ANTHONY STOKER pair of shoes are wrapped in a silk scarf,
inspired by the tradition of Furoshiki.
Thank you for reading.
Have a beautiful night.