/ The collections
Megrez, Mizar, Mérak, Dubhé and Alioth are the traditional names of five stars of the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. We have chosen this constellation in connection with the inspiration for our collection.
The bear is a sacred animal in the Ainu culture,
master of the forests and protector of terrestrial life.
AINU AND CULTURAL ASSIMILATION
The Ainu are the first people of Japan living mainly in the northern area. The Ainu culture is known for its advanced textile know-how. Their most emblematic fabric is made from elm bark fibers. Their ceremonial clothes are decorated with elaborate embroideries that are highly symbolic, protecting them from evil.
This minority is marked by a process of cultural assimilation. Either a process of acculturation, an abandonment of one's culture of origin in favor of another, voluntarily or under duress.
AINU CULTURAL ASSIMILATION
The modern Japanese state forced the Ainu to abandon their culture, especially by forbidding them to use their language or practice their religion since the end of the 19th century. Discriminatory practices which have slowly cut off a population from its cultural heritage, causing its slow disappearance by enclosing it in parallel in backward-looking, exotic and folklorist representations.
It was not until 2008 that the State recognized the existence of the Ainu and April 2019 that they were recognized as an integral part of the Japanese population.
How do these populations reappropriate this heritage?
What should we keep, what should we change?
How to reinvent a contemporaneity to a population captured as an immutable and fixed essence, identical to itself since immemorial times in an allochronic perspective?
We responded to this fantasized questioning by conceptualizing ASSIM/LATION, a collection freely inspired by the structure of Ainu garments, in particular collars and sleeves. A choice influenced by our perennial artistic line which tends to enhance the form.
We have arbitrarily abandoned the rusticity of traditional fabrics, elm bark and cotton, in favor of a warmer and more sophisticated material, a woolen and cashmere cloth. We have replaced the ancestral protective embroidery, which has an extremely intimate meaning, with a triangular cut, signature of our brand.
We have incorporated elements of Japanese inspiration to signify the reciprocal influence of cultures on each other when they recognize each other and see each other as equal, a recent status for Ainu cultural heritage.
Works and books
Julien Clercq, "L’évolution de l’artisanat aïnou en art primitif moderne : transferts et appropriations culturelles (1ère et 2ème partie), Graduate School of International Media Of The Hokkaido University, 2019, 24 pages.
Julien Clercq, "L’évolution de l’artisanat aïnou en art primitif moderne : transferts et appropriations culturelles (2ème partie, suite et fin), Graduate School of International Media Of The Hokkaido University, 2019, 23 pages.
Kristie Hungers, "Sermaka Omare: The Ainu Motif Of Protection. An Analysis Of Traditional Ainu Artwork", Master Of Arts In The Graduate School Of The Texas Woman’s University, Denton, 2017, 134 pages.