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Embrace the summer sun with Kaori Yatsumoto’s upcycled kimono caps

[4649.REC x Kaori Yasumoto] Upcycled Denim Cap – “Gold Katana” Caps

As the summer months, protect yourself in style from the sun with the upcycled kimono caps, from our latest collaboration with Kaori Yatsumoto, using the same fabric as in our army co-ords and in our collaboration with Isaak Ayo.

“When I create my pieces, I strive to highlight the beauty of old fabric that was created through elaborate craftsmanship and to reduce waste as much as possible in my creations.” 

Kaori Yatsumoto

Kaori designs bespoke dresses, hats and accessories and we have been a big fan of Kaori’s creations for years – because of her vintage couture is characterised by its unique combination of 1950s Hollywood glamour with Japanese influences. To celebrate the release of these pieces, we have interviewed her to learn more about her brand, vision, inspiration and creative process.

4649.REC: How and when did you get into designing dresses, hats and accessories? Could you tell me more about your background?

Kaori: I originally came to London to study business. I began working in the travel industry,  but I always had a passion for fashion and art so I eventually decided to study dressmaking. I started designing women’s clothes and selling them online on Etsy. I find creating to be very therapeutic. Having become a mother, I also began selling children’s clothing and accessories online as well as in physical markets.

4649.REC: Your couture style combines vintage glamour and Japanese influences. Could you tell me more about how this came about and how you manage to reconcile both elements?

Kaori: I get my inspiration from the vintage style and the fabrics I find. I learned the pleating, ruching and draping process in London and love using Japanese chirimen* to create one-off vintage style one-off dresses. 

4649.REC: What inspired you to begin upcycling these fabrics from Japan and how do you acquire these fabrics?

Kaori: Originally, my mother and my aunt gave me their old Kimono and Obi belts that they no longer used. I began upcycling because I love the beautiful design and colours of kimonos. Each piece is made with silk and such intricate Japanese craftsmanship that I believe these pieces of wearable art should be treasured and kept, even if it is under a different form. When I make caps, I usually upcycle plastic bottles for laundry liquid to create the brim, but lately I have found it harder to find because people around me don’t use it any more (which is good thing). So unfortunately, at the moment, I am still searching for sustainable materials to upcycle for the brim.

4649.REC: Could you tell me a bit more about the pieces, which came out of this partnership?

Kaori: Yumi handed leftover fabric from a beautiful Obi Belt and I fell in love with the colours. I’ve always liked the combination of Japanese colourful design and denim so I thought upcycling denim and the Obi belt should be perfect. 

4649.REC: : Do you have a specific audience in mind when you create your pieces?

Kaori: Anyone who likes to dress differently from others, as each piece is unique and one of a kind. Anyone who understands the beauty of old Japanese design, and the importance of recycling and upcycling.

4649.REC: Lastly, what would you say is the key message behind your pieces? How do you contribute to the sustainable fashion movement?

Kaori: When I create my pieces, I strive to highlight the beauty of old fabric that was created through elaborate craftsmanship and to reduce waste as much as possible in my creations. 

Kaori also designs children’s apparel and accessories with a Japanese twist. Follow Kaori on Instagram to keep up with her latest projects.

*Chirimen is a plain-woven silk crêpe composed of raw silk yarn

[4649.REC x Kaori Yasumoto] Upcycled Denim Cap – “Gold Katana” Dark
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Exchanging fabrics and stories with London-born designer Isaak Ayo

Usually, I acquire my fabric online, meaning  I can only imagine what the person who wore it was like, so using fabric from Yumi’s family and knowing the person with whom the fabric was associated was truly an honour.

Isaak Ayo

Isaak Ayo was founded in 2013, when designer Rickardo’s son Isaac Ayo Mascarenhas Reynolds was born. All Isaak Ayo bags and T-shirts are ethically made in London, using recycled (and mostly organic) fabrics such as upcycled kimono silk, wood felt, organic cotton and bamboo. 

Before creating Isaak Ayo, from the 1990s to 2005 Rickardo used to run his own clothing business “BOK” with a friend. BOK sold clubwear at Portobello Market, and Camden Market and sold wholesale to shops around the UK, Germany and Miami. When clubwear died down, Rickardo became a landscape gardener before deciding to co-create ethical T-shirt label “Organik Rocka” with a partner in 2005. Facing difficulties in a long-term friendship and business partnership, Rickardo decided to begin anew in 2013, boosted by the energy and inspiration provided by his newborn son.

4649.REC:   Your main collection is the “World Series Collection”, which intends to represent your love of traveling. Would you say your creations are also reflective of your cultural background? 

Rickardo: The “World Series Collection” as a whole is not reflective of my cultural background, as a lot of the fabrics I use are from Japan. However, I am increasingly using fabrics from West Africa because although my parents are from Jamaica, our ancestry is mainly from West Africa. 

4649.REC:  Isaak Ayo creates bags made from upcycled, and natural fabrics, particularly bags from upcycled kimonos. How did you get the idea to start upcycling? 

Rickardo: I had actually worked with upcycled products before I had started my own brand. My first job was actually working for a small company, which made jackets from upcycled leather jackets, jeans and silk scarves. Years later, I started making backless Kimono from silks.  I bought a deconstructed kimono, but there was not enough fabric, so I followed my wife’s suggestion to make a tote bag instead. That’s how my bag collection began. 

4649.REC: How would you say your brand has evolved over the years in terms of vision, particularly over the COVID-19 period?

Rickardo: My brand has developed over the years. From tote bags and T-shirts, My product range has continually increased from tote bags and T-shirts originally,  my latest and most successful pieces are backpacks and cardholders. I intend to continue to expand the product range, to eventually include clothing.

Over time, I have also expanded my online presence. During COVID, my orders increased a lot in the UK and the USA. However, orders from Europe decreased significantly after Brexit.

4649.REC: How do you usually acquire the kimono fabric, which you use in your bags?

Rickardo: At the moment I acquire my fabric online, but I hope to one day go to Japan and bring back a load of old Kimono. 

4649.REC: Yumi fell in love with your creations on Instagram and decided to  reach out to you for a collaboration based on an exchange of fabric:  you provided the indigo blue cotton fabric from Gambia for 4649.REC’s Haori top, which matches your backpack, while Yumi provided you with the leftover fabric from the Gold Katana co-ords. which came from Yumi’s mother, so you could create a matching bag. Could you tell me a bit more about the one-off pieces, which came out of this partnership?

Rickardo: This partnership is great because we both have a love for sustainable fashion, fabrics from Africa, and fabrics from Japan, particularly Kimono fabric, and Obi*. In this collection, we used an Obi that belonged to Yumi’s mother, which  she used to create the Gold Katana camouflage co-ords. The fabric was perfect to create a matching clutch bag. Using the indigo blue cotton fabric from Gambia from which created a backpack, Yumi created a Haori top. In order to create the backpack, the fabric had to be interfaced and reinforced to give it body and durability. I also added upcycled leather to the bottom of the backpack for protection. 

This collaboration was a really interesting experience. Usually, I acquire my fabric online, meaning  I can only imagine what the person who wore it was like, so using fabric from Yumi’s family and knowing the person with whom the fabric was associated was truly an honour. After exchanging the fabrics, Yumi and I discussed what type of pieces we would create, but neither of us knew exactly what the other had in mind. In the end, we both love each other’s creations. 

4649.REC:  What is your creative process like? What inspires you? 

Rickardo: My creative process is a bit chaotic; I tend to start many projects simultaneously.  I am inspired by what my eyes take in everyday. I look at everything, especially when I’m walking with my headphones on. I also love people watching, which is a good way of seeing what people are into.  Being able to come up with an idea in my head and actually create it, brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. I have noticed that when I’m not creating, my stress level goes up. 

When I have an idea, I draw or write it down, then it goes through a few changes before I begin the actual crafting process.  Once I have created a bag, I try to see how it can be improved by having my wife or friends test them out and give their feedback on wearability, durability and design. Their, sometimes brutal, honesty is really helpful. 

Ultimately, I want to demonstrate that sustainable doesn’t have to mean boring.

4649.REC:  More generally, what would you say is the main challenge in sustainable fashion becoming mainstream?

Rickardo:  I think sustainable fashion will become more mainstream when large companies realise they can make money from it, but I think consumers need to change their buying habits, to force large companies to change. When we buy, we need to focus on quality, rather than quantity. We should also support environmentally friendly independent brands. Small brands may become big one day. 

4649.REC:  What would you say is the key message behind your pieces? How do you contribute to the sustainable fashion movement?

Rickardo: I am trying to create sustainable bags from natural and biodegradable sustainable sources. For instance, I do not use plastic in any of my bags or packaging.  I look at my bags as little pieces of art, mixed with the art of the original fabric maker. I love upcycling fabrics because of their history. Some of the pieces I use are over seventy years old, and still in great condition.  Upcycling is the way forward: we have to re-use as much as we can, if we want to protect the planet. Ultimately, I want to demonstrate that sustainable doesn’t have to mean boring.

You can read more about Isaak Ayo and shop the exclusive pieces which came out of our collaborations below. 

Want to discover more sustainable designers interested in authentic Japanese fashion? Stay tuned for our upcoming blog article here soon. Who should 4649.REC collaborate next?

*the wide silk belt that is worn with the kimono

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Embrace a gender neutral closet for Pride Month

4649.REC textile pride rainbow

June 2021 marks the 51st anniversary of Pride Month. Every year, since 1969, during the month of June, the LGBTQIA+ community celebrates in various ways from parades and festivals to events and public speaking. More than a celebration, Pride Month provides the opportunity to bring awareness to important issues the community is facing. 

What is Pride Month and why does it take place in June? 

On an early morning of June 28, 1969, in Manhattan, New York, the Stonewall Inn was raided by the police. Greenwich Village was an area known to be home to sizeable gay and lesbian populations. Gay bars being illegal in the 1950s and 60s, very few places welcomed gay people and those which did were often run by organized crime groups. The Stonewall Inn, for one, was owned by the Mafia. Such bars were routinely raided. However, violence escalated during the Stonewall Raid and sparked a wave of protests several evenings in a row. The protests led to the formation of organized activist groups, calling for the creation of places where they could embrace their sexual orientation without fear. The riots served as a catalyst for the LGBT liberation movement in the United States.

As a celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Brenda Howard organized the first Pride March in New York, which soon became a yearly event. Pride is now celebrated across the United States, but also throughout the world every year.

How does 4649.REC celebrate Pride Month? 

56% of people between 13 and 20 and 43% of people between 28 and 34 stated that they knew someone who uses gender neutral pronouns.  4649.REC stands for sincerity, harmony and respect. We hope to bring people together one garment at a time. We stand for diversity and inclusiveness, authenticity with one’s self and respect to all.

All our pieces are gender free and have a unisex fit, as we believe being authentic to oneself involves feeling free to transgress the gender conventions in fashion. Find a piece that resonates with you or guide us on how to create it for you.

How can you embrace Pride Month by experimenting with gender neutral clothing?

Unisex and non-binary clothing strive to challenge gender norms. Looking to adopt a more gender neutral closet and transgress the boundaries through fashion?  You can personalize your clothing to push back boundaries and achieve your ideal, authentic look through up-cycling and customization of all sorts (dyeing, embroidery, tailoring..). Let us help you experiment with a wide range of colors and patterns, using upcycled kimono fabrics – they are full of colours and nature themed prints which speak to us all.

Overall, despite the progress which has already been made, we must continue to increase awareness and support inclusiveness. In some places like Japan, LGBTIQ+ people are still not protected from discrimination by the law. This June the LGBT Equality Act should be adopted. However, it is contested by LGBTIQ+ advocacy groups who denounce the lack of enforceable protections contained in the bill, which only requires an “understanding of LGBT people”. More generally, as a result of discrimination, homophobia and transphobia and the rejection which may be experienced after coming out, individuals in the LGBTIQ+ community are at increased risk of mental health problems such as depression, self-harm and substance abuse. A study by Stonewall underlined that, in the UK, ⅛  LGBTIQ+ people between 18 and 24 and half of trans people attempted to take their life. Committed to inclusion and wellbeing for all, 4649.REC donates a portion of its proceeds to mental health Mind.

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Discover RETURE : your new favorite online upcycled fashion boutique


Looking for some new unique and sustainable summer outfits? Look no further than RETURE boutique, a marketplace for sustainable brands offering a 10% discount for newcomers until May 31. Shop our products on RETURE boutique now. 

Founded in March 2020, RETURE is the only marketplace for upcycled fashion. As a part of the upcycling movement, RETURE intends to extend the life of garments, promote human craft in an increasingly digital era and celebrate local creative talents. Indeed, each designer featured on RETURE creates pieces using different material, which gives them their identity. 

RETURE’s mission is to encourage more people to try upcycling. Therefore, it offers a bespoke upcycling service, where you can find us to work directly with us for your upcycling needs. RETURE also strives to teach you how to upcycle your own clothes

What is upcycling? 

Upcycling is reusing (discarded garments or materials) in order to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. 

Entrenched in the ideas of slow fashion, upcycling intends to create a more circular fashion industry, reducing waste and emphasizing craft and creativity. Rather than mass production, short-lived trends and disposable garments, upcycling intends to repurpose and embellish existing materials to create memorable, unique and sustainable pieces. Upcycling attributes clothing an emotional, rather than simply economic value.

Why upcycle?

At first, you might be skeptical at the idea of upcycling their wardrobes. However, usually after the first try, you  fall in love with the creative process and proud of the results. How come?

  1. By reclaiming the creative process and creating your own pieces, you get to have something no one else owns. You can customize clothing sleeping in your wardrobe and create the pieces you have long sought-after and you can be sure of their quality. 
  2. The upcycling process also allows you to learn about design and develop new craftsmanship skills. 
  3. By using reclaimed materials, you are protecting the planet and preventing exploitation of garment workers in the fast fashion industry, one upcycled garment at a time. 
  4. As our founder/designer Yumi described when she explained the process of repurposing her mother’s kimonos, upcycling allows you to reconnect with yourself and potentially your cultural heritage, but also to create new ties with your loved ones and your community. Clothes are valuable because they are intimately linked with our memories. They carry stories. Whether you are upcycling your garments or those of your loved ones, the repurposed pieces will carry a special meaning, which you can proudly wear.

Want to help us make upcycling more mainstream in the fashion industry? Get on board with the RETURE movement and let’s make change together!

Photo Credit: @KTW Photography

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No-Sew,Origami Style DIY Face Covering Tutorial

no-sew DIY face mask

As a result of COVID-19 pandemic has and the use of single-use masks, over 1.6 billion face masks being discarded in UK landfills every months. We believe protecting ourselves also means protecting the planet. Therefore, 4649.REC has released a free DIY reusable fabric face mask pattern, which you can download and follow to create your own face mask. 

Not a fan of sewing? We also have simplified the process with this No-Sew DIY Face Cover Kit, which includes upcycled materials like kimono fabric and elastic bands from our London studio. In this short tutorial video, we guide you through the steps to create your own no-sew DIY face mask. Soon, you’ll want to start using your own upcycled materials to create personalized gifts for your loved ones.

Looking for some inspiration before you begin? You can check out 4649.REC’s upcycled face mask collection. Once you have created your mask, don’t forget to share it on Instagram using the hashtag #myupcycledmask and tag @4649.REC to join the movement to protect ourselves and our beloved planet, one mask at a time. 

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Compassion, COVID-19 and cultural attitudes towards mental health

mental health awareness week nature theme

The following haiku was written by our teammate Christina* in honor of Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16th May), we wanted to acknowledge how the COVID-19 pandemic has deteriorated mental health globally. 

May 9th is also Mother’s Day in Japan. During lockdown, founder/designer Yumi began disassembling her mother’s kimonos, which helped her reconnect with her family, her cultural heritage but also herself in these times of isolation. Our interest in sparking meaningful interpersonal and cross-cultural dialog means we cannot overlook how differently cultures deal with mental health issues. While mental health has become less taboo in many Western cultures in recent years, in Japan mental health continues to carry a stigma, which further burdens victims and their loved ones. 

In Japanese society, struggling with mental health is conceived as something shameful because it represents an inability or a lack of willpower to control oneself. In that sense, the expectation is that patients or their families, rather than professionals, should deal with these issues. Though treatments are available, nearly two-thirds of patients never seek out professional help.

In the face of rising suicide rates, Tetsushi Sakamoto was named as Japan’s first Minister for Loneliness by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Indeed, in October 2020, Japan experienced a 70% increase in female suicides alone. Similarly to the UK, Japan has adopted measures to address loneliness amidst the pandemic.

The WHO reported that over 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide, but many do not receive treatment due to stigma, discrimination, and neglect.

As lockdown comes to an end in the UK, Japan’s situation is a kind reminder that COVID-19 is a global issue and we must keep exercising compassion and looking out for one another. 

In July 2020, a KFF Health Tracking Poll reported the stress associated with the pandemic was prompting negative impacts on wellbeing including difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%). In the long-run, the pandemic also increases exposure to isolation and job loss, which are associated with poor mental health outcomes.

Between March 2020 and February 2021, in the UK loneliness rose from 10 to 26%. Even during the summer of 2020, when most restrictions were lifted, reported loneliness did not return to its pre-lockdown levels.Combating loneliness is crucial for mental health because human connections provide us emotional support and allow us to cope better. In February 2021, 13% of surveyed UK adults reported having thoughts about suicide in the previous two weeks, an increase of 5 points from April 2020. 


To extend our commitment to sustainability in our personal sources of energy (Ki), we give back a percentage of proceeds to the mental health charity Mind. Read more about their everyday tips for dealing with mental health and for helping others around you and check out their guides for hotlines and support.

* “A writer with a tendency to look at human fallibility and the emotions that haunt us, Christina Sophie Tring is a poet and prose writer that is focusing on multiple projects this year to build her catalogue of work” 

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Come find us at LDC’s Latest Islington Pop-up

LDC and 4649.REC Spring 2021 PopUp at Islington Square

As the lockdown has been eased throughout the UK, we are excited to be back in Lone Design’s Club (LDC)’s latest pop-up in Islington Square. With its local, ethical and sustainable food and produce market happening between Fri-Sun, this beautiful and lively neighborhood of North London is ideal for a weekend stroll. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, a giant post office was built on Islington’s Upper Street. This beautiful baroque monument spreading over 15700m2 hosts a variety of botanical markets, creative community spaces, pop-up bookshops and independent retailers such as Lone Design Club. 

Islington square baroque building

Credit @IslingtonSq on Instagram – Image by @kesingtonleverne

Established in 2018, LDC strives to promote conscious fashion by connecting consumers to ethical and independent fashion and lifestyle brands with traceable practices and one of a kind items. You can shop our products* on the Lone Design Club website. This pop-up showcases our one-off pieces celebrating cultural heritage, diversity and meaningful conversations.

Rooted in the spirit of exchange and correspondence, stories continue to pass through Islington Square, no longer through letters and packages, but through creative and unique events, which bring together residents and newcomers alike.

Flowers at Islington Square

Credit @IslingtonSq on Instagram – Image by @kesingtonleverne

In a time where events and exchanges have gone digital, it is ever more important for us to recreate physical, personal connections with people. This holds true for the fashion industry as well. 

Come see our products in person and try them on before you make a purchase. You can also book an in-store styling appointment with our designer Yumi during the opening hours.

Come share your stories with us at the LDC Islington Pop-up: 

@ISLINGTON SQUARE 
116 – 118 Upper St, London, N1 1AB

May 4th-27th 

 HOURS:
Mon: 11am-5pm
Tues – Weds: 10am-6pm
Thurs – Sat: 11am-7pm
Sun: 12-6pm

We look forward to meeting you soon!

LDC Islington Pop-UP 4649.REC

*Please note LDC showcases Yoroshiku 4649 and 4649.REC products on the same page

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The ghosts of our clothes: time for an ethical Fashion Revolution

Haiku by ethical brands for fashion revolution

“the clothes you wear have ghosts on them, the histories of those who made them”

4649.REC has been discussing the way the clothes we own carry the stories of those who have worn them before us. However, we cannot overlook just how much those who make our clothing contribute to their stories, as well. 

In remembrance of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building hosting several garment factories in Bangladesh 8 years ago today (24th April 2013), 4649.REC has shared yet another of our team member Christina’s beautiful haikus*. We want to pay tribute to the 1,134 people lost during this tragedy and bring attention to the workers in the fast fashion industry, who often suffer exploitative conditions to keep clothing prices low. 

What is Fashion Revolution?

The Rana Plaza building collapse is the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. Fashion Revolution was founded in the wake of this tragedy and launched the #WhoMadeMyClothes movement, urging the fashion industry to respect human rights and increase transparency throughout the production chain. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation 300 million people work in the clothing industry, a vast majority of them being women. The vast majority live in poverty and do not have the freedom to negotiate their working conditions. In fact, in 2018, the Global Slavery Index reported that the garment industry is the second sector driving modern slavery.

In the context of COVID-19, garment worker’s rights and transparency are a particularly salient issue. Research by the Traidcraft Exchange highlighted how most of the countries where garments are being produced do not have the economic resources necessary to support the large number of unemployed workers, leaving many food insecure. Indeed, in last year in March an estimated $1.44 Billion US dollars worth of payments were cancelled or withheld in Bangladesh alone. In the midst of a pandemic, this means the healthcare infrastructure will also struggle to care for the sick.

On this day, in accordance with the values of Fashion Revolution, we wish to amplify the voices of garment workers which are too often overlooked. You can hear more about the stories of garment workers or by following the #IMadeYourClothes movement. 

What can you do to help?

Here, at 4649.REC, we value harmony, respect and sincerity and believe it is time for an ethical fashion revolution. Read and sign the Fashion Revolution manifesto here.

Fashion should be a celebration of people, of cultural diversity and of life. If you, too, want bring about a fashion industry which values people and the planet above profits, learn more about how you can get involved

Let’s make ethical and sustainable choices when filling our wardrobe as our favorite stores re-open and let us know what you consider to make a fashion brand ethical? Share your thoughts with us and let’s start our conversation.

* “A writer with a tendency to look at human fallibility and the emotions that haunt us, Christina Sophie Tring is a poet and prose writer that is focusing on multiple projects this year to build her catalogue of work” 

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How to: DIY Fabric Face Mask

The pandemic has caused a surge in personal protective equipment (PPE) which has been catastrophic for the environment. 51% of people in the UK use single-use blue surgical face masks. This means every month, 1.6 billion face masks are sent to UK landfills. 

In March 2020, Yoroshiku brand launched DIY Face Mask Kit with all upcycled materials from our London studio to give people everything they need to create their own face mask. Through a series of online workshops in partnership with Lone Design Club, we guided people through the process of stitching a face mask.

Now, in order to reduce ‘new’ waste of face masks, we have released a free DIY reusable fabric face mask pattern – just in time for Fashion Revolution Week 2021

How to make your own face mask

First, download your free DIY fabric face mask pattern here now. This PDF pattern will help you make your own 4-fold face cover. Simply print it out on A4 paper, grab some materials laying around in your house and get creative.

You can look at 4649.REC’s upcycled face mask collection for inspiration. Once you know how to make these quickly, easily and personalized, you’ll want to make some as gifts for your friends and family. Spread the love by sharing this pattern with your family and friends. Looking for an opportunity to catch up with them? You could organise a cozy afternoon of crafting together online. If you want to take a walk down memory lane, you could ask your loved ones for some of their old garments, which you could upcycle while they tell you about the stories they associate with them.

If you want more help with the process, watch the following tutorial for step by step instructions on how to make your own reusable face mask. When you will be done creating your mask, don’t forget to tag @4649.REC on Instagram and use the hashtag #myupcycledmask to share your project and join the movement to protect yourself, others and the planet.

Before you go out and get back to “normal” life, make your own mask and join the movement to protect the planet one mask at a time. Follow us on Instagram now to stay updated.

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Haikus for Mother’s Day

the tenderness of
spring; unfolding, forgiving
I watch this in you

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that consists of brief, non-rhyming lines that elicit natural imagery. Haiku can be written in a number of short verse styles, the most popular of which is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable sequence. Traditionally, haiku poetry discusses nature themes and imagery describing a particular season or changes in the natural world throughout the year. 

Some key terminology:

  • On (“sounds”): Japanese haikus contain 17 on. 
  • Kigo (a word or phrase that places the haiku in a particular season): for instance, Sakura (“cherry blossoms”) for spring, fuji (“wisteria”) for summer, tsuki (“moon”) for autumn, and samushi (“cold”) for winter.
  • Kireji (the “cutting word”): traditionally, kireji inserts a pause or a break in the poem’s flow, usually to contrast two images.

What are the origins of haiku?

The history of the haiku can be traced back to the 13th century. Originally called “hokku”, haikus were an opening stanza for a larger Japanese poem called rengu, written collaboratively. In the 16th century, poets began writing hokku without the rengu. Matsuo Bashō (1644-94)created haikai, a more relaxed form of rengu, In the 19th century, with the help of Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), it became known as haiku and recognized as its own form of poetry. 

The history of the haiku can be traced back to the 13th century. Originally called “hokku”, haikus were an opening stanza for a larger Japanese poem called rengu, written collaboratively. In the 16th century, poets began writing hokku without the rengu. Matsuo Bashō (1644-94) created haikai, a more relaxed form of rengu, In the 19th century, with the help of Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), it became known as haiku and recognized as its own form of poetry. 

Simultaneously, the haiku started to spread to France and to the Netherlands, and then to North America. American Beat poets of the 1950s were profoundly influenced by Eastern philosophy and haiku, as R.H. Blyth’s 1951 book Haiku demonstrates. 

Why are we sharing haikus?

Haikus are a world-renown art form of Japan. In our attempt to empower people from all cultural backgrounds and encourage them to reconnect with their heritage and family history, we are celebrating diversity as well as Mother’s Day. 

Lovingly crafted by our team member Christina Sophie Tring *, our haikus celebrate mothers and the special bond we develop with them throughout our lives. For our founder/designer Yumi, cutting up her mother’s vintage kimonos, which are attached to personal memories turned out to be a form of empowerment, which allowed her to engage in meaningful conversations and strengthen family ties. 4649.REC is not just a sustainable upcycling street wear collection, it attempts to spark that special feeling within people and share it with the world through its clothing pieces and accessories and through workshops, where you too, can learn to upcycle your clothes.

What other aspects of Japanese culture would you like to be celebrated by us? What forms of art from your culture do you feel an attachment to? Connect with us and let’s start our conversation. 

* “A writer with a tendency to look at human fallibility and the emotions that haunt us, Christina Sophie Tring is a poet and prose writer that is focusing on multiple projects this year to build her catalogue of work”