Post B: Tokyo Recycle Project

The Tokyo Recycle Project, launched in 1999 by Japanese fashion designer Masahiro Nakagawa. Starting point is under the theme of recycling, along with the connections between human and clothes in relation to events, people, information or stories. In a way challenging the mass consuming society today that influenced our mental situations, as if the fast changing consuming goods control our mind and physical energy. The project is about the small population of people who are not driven by the colorful new things instead focusing on individuality, personal associated object that is meaningful for them.

Nakagawa was particularly interested in recyclable fashion and reconstruction of pre-loved garments. During the Toyoko fashion week that year, they asked fashion journalist to send pre-loved garments with a letter attached with information of their life and memories associated with the garment. The designers then deconstruct the reassemble these piece into something more desirable and fashionable.


In 1999 Nakagawa created "Nakagawa Sochi" as a means of developing new forms (exciting, thrilling, festive) of communication. Avaliable at
In 1999 Nakagawa created “Nakagawa Sochi” as a means of developing new forms (exciting, thrilling, festive) of communication.
Avaliable at

The concept is somewhat related to the current trend that emerged years after, which is retro chic – new clothes, same old look. The techniques used through out the alteration including introducing new fabrication. For some piece they decided to only use certain part that can make a statement. For some piece they changed a jacket into a pants using most of the fabric.  This technique is very interesting when displayed considering he placement of the contrasting fabric as well as the material. However the aim is not trying to change one to another, is to recycle, reuse, and reconstruct, emphasising on the idea of sustainable fashion. Making something no longer fashionable into retro chic.


Process of the Toyoko Recycle Project Available at
Process of the Toyoko Recycle Project
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Available <;
Available at
Available at <;

The system of mass production and mass consumption with increasing speed realized the lifestyle economically rich, at the same time 21st century has come with increasing waste such as industrial pollution and many problems of environment left. The intention of Tokyo Recycle project not only encourage minimizing wastage in the high speed movement fashion system but also inspires meaningful relationship with objects. Meaning that these garments have exceed their simple being as a cover up for the body, this idea can relate to any object in our daily routine that have a deep personal attachment inclined to us.


Masahiro Nakagawa says, “ If you have a piece of clothes with memories, there your memories are woven on.” Any object can have a special meaning to someone, and in this case, the garment symbolises a memory, by making it into something new meaning a new journey will begin.


Written by : Cherry Liu


References, (2015). BIG IN JAPAN | Tokyo Recycle Project and Beyond. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 May 2015]., (2015). TOKYO RECYCLE PROJECT #1 | Masahiro Nakagawa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 May 2015].

The Japan Times, (2001). Better living through recycling | The Japan Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 May 2015].

2 thoughts on “Post B: Tokyo Recycle Project

  1. Love this project, love seeing upcycled garments as the possibilities are endless! People need to start rethinking how to make new garments from old things (eg Martin Margiela, Romance Was Born). Not only does it give a garment more personalised meaning, through transcribing memories, but also heightens the sensoriality, or “thingness of a thing” of the garment. Very inspiring!

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