Fashion Tech News symbol

Relay Column: Clothing & Figures (Reina Mikame)

Copied to Clipboard
Reina Mikame
Reina Mikame

A painter from Aichi Prefecture, Reina Mikame graduated with a master's degree from the Tokyo University of the Arts. She primarily explores the relationship between perception and image through her works titled "色を見る" (literally, Seeing Color) and "線を見る" (literally, Seeing Lines). In addition to solo exhibitions and presentations at art fairs both in Japan and internationally, she provides artwork for books, catalogues, and videos, and also collaborates with fashion brands. Her first book, "スタジオと絵を思考する," is scheduled for publication this May.

Profile Photo: ©Mai Komura

About twice a week in her studio, Reina uses shears to cut rolled-up fabric into mostly squares according to a set ratio, starting from widths just under two meters. These cuts are destined for canvas frames, tailored to suit her painting needs.
Today, let's delve into the relationship between fabric, which predominantly constitutes both clothing and paintings, and the figures painted on them.
Painting canvases are typically either rectangular wooden frames or wooden panels covered with fabric. Fabric edges are fixed to the frame with stainless steel tacks on one side only, resembling a drumhead as she proceeds with her painting. The materials supporting the paint, such as fabric, wood, and paper, are referred to as substrates, and the fabric substrates alone are called canvases. This term originates from the hemp canvas material, and historically, hemp is commonly used for these surfaces. After extensive research on materials, cotton fabric has also become widely used, and now canvases may even include synthetic fiber blends. Over time, paintings have transitioned from being on walls and panels to more portable and lighter fabrics.
Clothing inherently assumes the act of wearing, and the fabrics used in clothing are tailored to suit specific purposes.
This time, I'd like to explore the decorative aspect of clothing—specifically, figures that are printed or transferred onto clothing, which don't always adhere to functional presumptions.
Various considerations arise when placing figures on clothing: composing them all-over, patterning, or extracting specific elements. Among these, clothing pieces that preserve a painting-like form, such as those with squared figures printed on the front or back, are fascinating to me as a painter. I observe such printed figures on an actual T-shirt, noting how they differ when laid flat versus when worn on a body. The T-shirt deployed for observation hosts an original figure not specifically created for use on clothing.
When laid flat, a T-shirt stretches the fabric to fit a plane surface, maintaining the rectangular integrity of the printed figure. This scenario likely represents the original figure's optimal state. When folded, only a part of the T-shirt displaying the figure is visible; however, when hung, the fabric undulates, creating distortions in the figure.
Due to individual body shapes, aligning the figure's appearance when worn can be challenging. Nevertheless, it's intriguing how the figure exists in a state where not everything is visible, predicated on the fabric's tendency to ripple and cling to the body's contours.
Perhaps when figures are printed or transferred onto clothing, viewing the whole figure isn't the primary goal. Often, the act of creating or owning it holds meaning, and whether worn or not, the figure with the clothing functions as a silent assertion. Without such factors, the constantly changing expressions of the figure, detached from its original form, might represent the overall image of the clothing.
For example, simply walking in a pair of bottoms changes the visible surface of the fabric; how the fabric conforms to and falls from the body varies with its thickness, and enjoying these differences becomes part of the design.
In that sense, the front of the clothing when worn likely differs from when it's not being worn, and once again, it confirms that both the body and the clothing are multifaceted.
1 / 2 pages
Share Article
Copied to Clipboard