As the Tohoku Cotton Project shows, the fashion industry isn’t simply about assembling dresses and displaying them on runways -- it spans to include textile manufacturers and fabric farmers, groups that were severely affected by March’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
More than 20 apparel manufacturers have pooled their resources and influence to kickstart production of fashion material in the devastated region of Tohoku. Throughout the prefecture, rice patties were not only leveled, but poisoned with high saline concentrations from the sea water. Yet, although rice can no longer be cultivated because of the pH measurements, cotton would flourish in the salty environment, giving fashion designers more threads to play and experiment with.
"The project provides cotton seeds to farmers whose rice paddies were flooded by the tsunami," PBS says. "The cotton will be harvested and purchased by participating companies, who will use it to create products such as towels and shawls."
This is the basic idea behind the Tohoku Cotton Project, which will employ displaced rice farmers in the collection of cotton, which will then be spun, blended with other organic materials and used to fabricate department store ensembles and high-fashion outfits alike. After an impressive appearance at the recent Tokyo Fashion Show, these new farmers have a stable, successful career to look forward to.
Tohoku Cotton Project Website
Tuhoku Cotton Project on Facebook