“To Learn Something by Being Slow”
Fashion Clinic / Hiyoko Imai / Yukiko Kokura
With a slow and leisured pace,
We learn to savour the art of living.
“The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees–
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.”
— from Entering the Kingdom by Mary Oliver
Highlighted stories include:
1. HEAL YOUR CLOSET, HEAL YOUR HEART / FASHION CLINIC
「在時裝行業待了這麼久，我和衣服的關係最緊密，對它最有感覺。」Toby說。也許，每個人和衣服都存在著一種親密的關係，拿起某件衣服，自然地想起某些回憶、某段時期的自己， 這就是人與衣服的連結。「做了LASTBUTNOTLEAST五年，有時候難免會感到孤獨，倒不如和有質素的設計師一起走這條路。」花了一年時間討論，Toby和Kay成立了Fashion Clinic，為舊衣診症，賦予它第二生命。「舊衣改造也可以是一件很有型的事，環保是不用放棄優質生活和美感的。」播了五年的種籽，現在是萌芽的時候了。
「慢時裝是用合理的時間製作優質的物件。」Toby說：「剛開始LASTBUTNOTLEAST時， 有些時裝界的朋友對我說：『你做這些賺不到錢的。』或是『若這股潮流完了，你怎麼辦?』， 令我感到讓大眾明白升級再造時裝的價值是最困難的地方。在速食時裝的潮流下，人們買衣服只看價錢，不會考慮布料、剪裁和質素，更不要說設計概念和生產的過程。因為價格低廉，不喜歡就輕易地掉棄，不懂珍惜，令人與衣服的距離疏遠了。這種模式也影響著我們如何對待擁有的東西、與人的關係，以及如何感受生活的節奏。」
“Having spent many years in the fashion industry, I am most connected to clothes. They can bring me emotion,” said Toby. Perhaps everyone has an intimate relationship with clothes — picking up a piece of clothing can bring back memories of ourselves at a particular moment. This is how people are connected to clothes. “I started the upcycling label LASTBUTNOTLEAST five years ago. Sometimes I would feel lonely working on my own, so I had this idea of teaming up with other designers that I appreciate.” After a full year of discussion, Toby and Kay founded Fashion Clinic that aims to “cure” old clothes by giving them a second life. “Transforming old clothes can be pretty amazing. Being environmental friendly doesn’t mean giving up quality life or the aesthetic standard.” Now, it is the time for the seed sowed five years ago to sprout.
“Slow fashion is to spend a reasonable amount of time on an item of decent quality,” said Toby, “When I first started LASTBUTNOTLEAST, some of my friends from the fashion industry told me that I wouldn’t be able to earn money from it. They were also worried this would be a short- lived trend. This made me realize how challenging it could be to educate the public about the value of up-cycled fashion. Influenced by the fast fashion trend, people tend to focus more on the price than the fabric, cutting and quality, not to mention consumers, in general, would neglect the design concept and the manufacturing process. Since the items are cheap, people forget about the importance of cherishing their clothes and abandon unwanted pieces rather easily. This has tear people and clothes apart. This mentality and habits also affect how we treat what we own, our interpersonal relationships and the way we understand our lives.”
2. TIME WITH JUNIOR / HIYOKO IMAI
Since becoming a parent, I find myself a better crafter, drawer, cook and observer of nature. There’s no better way to embrace slow living lifestyle than spending time with our 6-year-old son, Sohta. It helps me set priorities, focus on one thing and savour the moment. Here’s a series of daily activities for our “slowing down times”.
3. THE HUT AT DUSK / YUKIKO KOKURA
It was already getting dark when Kokura led me to her garden. A new moon was hanging in the cobalt blue sky as if it was a tender smile. “Seasonal change can be extreme here, this allows me to see how many things on earth were born tens of thousands of years ago. The pebbles over there was once a big piece of rock in ancient days. It has undergone various types of change to become tiny pebbles. Where we are situated nowadays can be linked to a distanced past; we are mere tiny spots in the grand history of the earth. In the magnificent universe lies many planets, we reside on one of the planets called earth so we are just a spot on this planet. This rationalization makes me feel at ease.”
We are all insignificant beings in the vast universe in the grand scheme of time. There is a certain order in everything, our existence is within this order waiting for the best destiny to come to us. Yuugata Cafe was first opened only as a place for drinking tea, the extended area of the art gallery is the result of how Kokura accepted what fate has brought to her.
4. HUMAN, LOCAL PRODUCE, LAND AND PASSION / SEEDESIGN FROM TAIWAN
吃，看似不過是動物性的身體所需、口腹之慾，但同時蘊藏著回憶、文化與歷史。身處異地， 解懷鄉之愁最有效的方法是吃一頓家鄉菜，味道在舌尖上時綻放出記憶與情懷，我們因吃而心安，因吃而知自己的身世，淦克萍認為味道也有其身世。「我的媽媽很會料理，她每天只做 一件事，就是料理，小時候我不欣賞我媽媽，就騙自己說，那是沒有用的女人在做的事，可是某天我媽媽突然因為心肌梗塞而離開了。昨天還在聊天，這天就走了。我身體就跑出她的味道，很強烈。」思念著母親的味道，淦克萍後來每年來到母親的家鄉，台灣最南端的恆春， 請農民種植牛杙仔蘿蔔，借恆春的熾熱陽光、溫暖的海風，日曬風吹，製成的蘿蔔乾，她將之引為自己娘家的味道，而這味道，在日後將留給她的兒子。恆春的牛杙仔蘿蔔乾，收藏了恆春 的風土、農人們的汗水、猛烈的陽光、鹽味的海風、淦克萍的思念與盼望，這便是牛杙仔蘿蔔乾的身世。
Food can be seen as the basic need of animals, but it is also the source of memory, culture, and history. Being away from home, the best way to deal with homesickness is to have a decent meal from your hometown. While enjoying the food, the memory and sentiments related to home would diffuse from the taste buds to all over your body. Food brings us comfort, as it tells us of our origin. To Kan, taste also has its backstory. “My mum was a good cook; the only thing she did every day was to cook. I didn’t appreciate that when I was young, so I lied to myself saying only worthless woman would cook. One day, she passed away from a heart attack; it was so unexpected. The day before we were still talking, but she was gone the next day. My whole body felt so intense of the taste of her cooking when I heard the news.” To pay tribute to her mother’s cooking, Kan began to visit her mother’s hometown in Hengchun, the southern part of Taiwan, every year. She would preserve the local radish under the sun and warm sea breeze there to make dried radish. To her, this is the taste of her mother’s home that she plans to pass it on to her son. The Hengchun dried radish is a treasure box that contains the terroir of the area, the hard work of the farmers, the intense sun, the slightly salty sea breeze, as well as the memory of the past and the vision into the future. All of these together is the backstory of the Hengchun dried radish.
5. A STORYTELLER AND A CHEF / HAO-FU CHANG
你在這裡用餐，就會聽到他「說菜」，意思是他會在每一道菜上桌之間的時間，從廚房裡跑出來，跟你說有關眼前這道菜的故事。「說菜」的習慣早由開設Jovial的時候開始，源自困惑後的感悟。「大家都不重視。我不知道為什麼，大家很重視『我戴Apple Watch』、『我的相機是名牌』、『我的車子是什麼』、『我穿什麼衣服』…… 但是對吃進肚子裡的東西一點都不在意。 這是非常可怕的事情。」他瞪大了眼睛，緩緩地說道：「那是因為東西進去了，沒有事情會馬上發生。大家都喜歡立即的滿足。但是我覺得他們花了錢，就應該有權利知道他吃了什麼東西。」 我們聊到了實行「說菜」在二十年前是何等瘋狂的事情，平常那幽默的他就回來了。「我講我的，他講他的，我也無所謂！因為我就是要講。」笑容中的倔強背後需要的是日復日年復年地去尋根究底，透徹了解自己購買的所有東西；他還恆常地看書及旅遊，確保自己是 一位負責任的「說菜」人。「做麵包的麵粉從哪邊來？花生醬的花生從哪邊來？都要知道。這樣講，很難。不是口才，而是你敢不敢這樣交待。」在餐廳的時候，他每天對四十位客人講，在電台的時候，他每天對五千位聽眾講。「餐飲業會改變，但是消費者要先改變，一點點的力量也是力量。」地點場合或許改變，但時間奪不去他的熱情和魄力。
The introduction of every dish by Chang is part of the dining experience at Tu Pang. Before every course is brought to the table, Chang would come from the kitchen to present its story behind. This tradition actually goes all the way back to the Jovial days; it came to him as an answer to some observation that confused him. “People don’t seem to focus much on it. I just cannot understand why people focus much more on wearing an Apple watch, showing off a branded camera, comparing what kind of cars people are driving or clothes people are wearing… To what you’re eating into your stomach, they simply pay too little attention. This is actually pretty terrifying.” With eyes wide-open, he slowly added, “That’s because nothing would immediately happen after eating. People always look for instant satisfaction. But I care about my customers’ rights of knowing what they have eaten.” When we mentioned how crazy it was to introduce this idea of explaining the courses 20 years ago, his usual sense of humor is back. “I just keep on talking, whether or not people are listening!” Behind his persistence is some restless works of research into every ingredient he comes across. He also frequently reads and travels to enrich his storytelling. “Where do the bread flours come from? How about peanut butter? You need to know it all. It’s more than just eloquence but guts. In the restaurant, he needs to talk in front of 40 customers. While doing radio program he would be talking to 5,000 audiences. “The food business is constantly changing, but customers need to take the first move. A force is a force no matter how little it is.” The place may keep changing but time would never take away his passion and caliber.
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