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Relay Column: The Memories Told by Clothes – On Expanding Movies through Imagination (Satsuki)


Born in Tokyo in 1997. After graduating from the Department of Scenography, Display, and Fashion Design at Musashino Art University, she began working as a freelance assistant for live-action film costumes and art. Recently, she has also been working on costume and prop design for animation.

Every item of clothing you are wearing now certainly has a memory. There are two main types of these memories.
The first is the memory leading up to the item becoming your possession. In other words, its process of manufacturing and distribution, or if it's second-hand, its history with its previous owner(s).
The second is the memory after the item has become your possession. The memory layers of the clothing are woven by the random repetition of the item being picked from the closet, worn, actively used with your body, aged and damaged like humans, then removed, washed, folded, or carelessly thrown on the floor.
In addition to its physical history, impressions sympathetically associated by the wearer, such as "My friend gave this dress to me," "I wore this outfit at a certain place," "I like its material," "I like its design," or "It's starting to grow too small," completes the current relationship between the item and the person.
Thinking of this, the clothes that you are wearing now are a conclusion led by history of you and these clothes combined with various external factors (temperature, day's activities, the person scheduled to meet, etc.).
So, movie costume design, which is my occupation, is an unnatural act of creating this conclusion as a third party.
Embedding an imagined history that a character who wears the clothing might have experienced. From the wrinkled shirt, you can imagine the character's clothing handling in their closet, their hectic lifestyle, or the existence of a cohabitant who irons. If there's an amulet attached to the backpack, you can feel someone's gaze watching over the character and an indulgent mind capable of accepting that feeling.
Movies are the collage of all actions where characters depicted in texts in a two-dimensional script embody three-dimensional bodies.
The actors use their bodies to breathe life into the characters, but it's the costumes that silently tell the story of that character's history and the current situation.
While being swayed in the train and thinking about these things, what comes into my eye is a flood of clothes' memories.
If there's someone who's constantly filing the world beneath the faces of people sitting across the train without using smartphones or reading books, it's probably me. The way each person uniquely combines colors and materials, the way they incorporate accessories, the balance of pant lengths, the feeling of wearing socks; I can tell a consistency unique to each individual. And I have fun with my imagination, playing with these memories of clothes.
For example, a large scratch on only one relatively new leather shoe. I try to envision when that scratch may have happened. Perhaps it rubbed on the curb as he swiftly dodged a car that suddenly poked out its face from the side. Maybe he stumbled down the stairs and the shoe got scraped only on one side. Or perhaps, he took off his shoes at a bar and found an unrecognizable scratch when he decided to put them back on a few hours later, containing his frustration all alone...
I won't know the actual story unless I ask the person (or even if I ask, they may not remember), but there is a start to the backstory of that scrape, an imprinted unique history. And that history is fundamentally connected to the memories and history of the person wearing it.
Such thoughts go through my mind as I rub the sole of a homeless person's sneakers or give a damaged trace to a delinquent's special attack uniform after a fight in my daily routine.
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