PET is the star at Issey Miyake’s
This month, Issey Miyake is launching a new line of pleated garments, all made of recycled PET, at Tokyo and then in New York, Paris and London.
The fashion designer is to present a new line of innovative fabrics based on polyester and recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) which he has been developing for two years at his Tokyo laboratory, the Reality Lab.
This line, christened “132.5 Issey Miyake,” comes in ten basic forms which are then turned into dresses, bolero jackets or bags with abstract geometric shapes.
Reality lab, a research laboratory
The Reality Lab is a research and development team made up of Issey Miyake himself, Manabu Kikuchi (textile engineer) and Sachito Yamamoto (engineer and stylist), together with five young assistants.
The team has been working since 2007 on innovative uses of materials while combining respect for the environment with creative audacity.
A concept resulting from a mathematical approach
In 2008, the team met IT researcher Jun Mitani and discovered his work designing computer-assisted shapes.
It didn’t take any more to inspire Issey Miyake and give birth to his future collection.
A single piece of fabric folded into a square… if you take one corner of the flat folded square and pull it up vertically, the three-dimensional shape of the fabric appears. The volume produced by opening the folds is sculptural, comprising acute angles and triangles, just like origami.
Ten identical basic folds turn into 29 clothes (blouses, skirts, trousers and dresses) on a single plane, from combinations of pieces of the same shape in different scales.
132.5: regeneration, and a new creation
From the beauty of the pleats to the elegance of the finished garment: the number 132.5 is a poetic evocation.
The figure “1” reflects the idea of a single piece of fabric, the “3” evokes the final result in 3D and the “2” the flat folding.
Finally, the “5” symbolises the metamorphosis of the garment when it is taken to new dimensions: pleated, laid flat, taken in hand and raised to reveal a dress, a skirt, etc.
Choice of materials, respect for the environment
In keeping with his environmental convictions and his research on materials, Issey Miyake decided to produce his collection from regenerated fibres.
These come from recycled PET bottles which, once washed, ground, micronised and melted down, take the form of threads, and therefore are fibres ready to be used to produce garments.
For this, Issey Miyake turned to the Japanese company Teijin Limited,
which has just launched a programme for recycling, recovering and reusing materials called “Eco-circle”, of which “132.5” forms a part.
Issey Miyake, linking East and West, fashion and design, poetic and mathematical dimensions, could surprise us yet again with this new line for today and tomorrow, without any backward-looking vision.
“These clothes are very light, like air, and can be worn in any season,” says Issey Miyake. “I hope that those who buy them will keep them for a long time and will not change them every two months. That, for me, is the basis of sustainable development.”
The Teijin Limited programme is the first of this type: the articles of recycled PET* can be decomposed at a molecular level and reprocessed as ultra-pure raw material ad infinitum. The material obtained from this processing does not lose anything by quality and do not deteriorate, even after repeated processing. When compared to the production of virgin PET, it is claimed that this process reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by around 80%.
*PET is a thermoplastic polymer of the polyester family. The term “polyester” is generally used in the textile industry, whilst “PET” is more commonly used in the packaging industry, particularly in food packaging. So we talk of a PET bottle or a polyester pullover.