ATELIER, WORKSHOP, LAB? ALL OF THEM
Obataimu’s perspective on fashion is one of a kind. With one eye on craftsmanship and the other one on modernity, the brand is truly dancing to the beat of its own drum. Each of their fabrics goes through a unique development process until it achieves precise sensation, density, and wearability. Afterwards, the fabrics are ready to go into the development process.
Obataimu’s Japanese inspiration absorbs a philosophical viewpoint and a mastery of technical confection. One of Obataimu’s signature stitches is the double-sided, where garments can be used on the outside as on the inside; one-quarter light, three-quarters originality, they are made to suit and provide style and comfort to their owner. That is why all of their pieces are made to order. It is not only a stance against fast and disposable fashion but a statement of durability and uniqueness: development of personal style.
A brand like Obataimu is rewriting the rules of the fashion game. Visible not only in their core but also in all steps: from conception to interaction with the client. The brand implements the Japanese Takumi practice, where anyone can become a master by learning the craft through seeing and doing. On that behalf, their atelier provides the opportunity to acquire skills like sewing, cutting, pattern design, and garment conception. The aim: to reinvest in human intelligence and bet for imagination.
The workshop contains two communal sewing tables to reintegrate people into the production process and create awareness for every person involved in the confection chain, from the designer to the sewer all the way to the sales associate. Thanks to Obataimu, being all of them is possible. Mastership comes from repetition: by consciously stitching a pocket several times a day, a new insight is learned: a new understanding of the material, the sewing, and the conception as a whole. A sense of freedom and happiness lingers inside, as people help and guide each other through whatever process they are developing.
This ‘open kitchen for clothes’ concept resembles a ‘farm to table’ environment. An intertwined team works from picking up the eggs to serving them on a breakfast that everyone will be invited to enjoy. The fashion industry alienates its parts; they no longer work as a whole body but as severed islands connected only by the ocean between them. By bringing together retailers, brands, designers, and producers, this gap disappears and a teamwork space is created. The entire process is made visible to all the parts that produce the garments, opening also the option of stepping out of their island and jumping into the next one, helping each other, and even learning a new skill. The only requirement is to wonder for more, to participate, and to be part of the process. How magical can it be, when the customer is also confectioner, designer, and dye expert?
Last but not least, Obataimu ask themselves: what happens next? The space is always available but, maybe, it can be more than just a workshop. Its flexibility allows it to morph into whatever it needs or wants: music events, gatherings in consumption, and fun extracurricular activities. The possibilities are endless. They are looking forward to expanding: installing a material library of specialized textiles, a couple of extra machines, and pattern-making tables for independent makers to work with different colors.
With the same care that Obataimu developed and produced their textiles, they coined their materials names’ aeromul, cloud cotton, and naked slub + aeromul.
Aeromul is a self-ventilating mulmul (muslin), wearable all year long. It was inspired by how termites work, building their mounds by prioritizing ventilation. Termites ensure that the openings and closings can be manipulated to adjust to outside temperatures, maintaining the inside cool or warm according to need. This working style has awed more than one; even engineers have dug in after this discovery and they built the Eastgate Center in Harare, Zimbabwe. This biomimetic building succeeded in eliminating air conditioning and heating and creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly structure. After the Obataimu Team heard about this accomplishment, they were awed and this self-regulating environment was the inspiration for aeromul.
The texture and breathability of this fabric are obtained through a steam bath of enzymes that also extracts most of the chemicals of the dying process. After steaming, the weave’s knots are loosened up and can be double layered: Obataimu’s signature and Japanese-inspired technique of producing two garments in one. The vacuum between layers allows the termite effect, rendering airflow to accommodate its owner.
Cloud Cotton obtained its name from the cloud cycle and its soft texture resemblance. Mirroring a cyclical motion that renews itself each time, this fabric provides a breathable sensation and is bound to become that t-shirt that you love and just gets better and better as it ages. Another influence for this material was E.E. Cummings verse: “i like my body when it is with your body.” A sensation of wearing air, almost nothing but your own skin, converging into one another to become one. So, it aims: that you love yourself in it, promising to become a new experience every time you wear it.
It should be taken into consideration that this weightless fabric is a delicate one; a garment that matches the same care you would take for yourself, one of attentiveness and mindfulness.
Naked Slub + Aeromul creation was tricker than expected. After five years of development, the ‘chamber of softness’ they were aiming for was achieved. Obataimu realized that one fabric could not encompass a comfort object that functions as a physiological tool and as an environment to calm the whole body; therefore, the idea of merging two fabrics came into motion. Three years of research went by until they found the perfect match, the selected ones were Aeromul and Naked Slub (a blend of viscose and polyester). A lot of care and awareness came were needed to assure a successful result; the combination of these fabrics produces a strategic vacuum between the double layering, which attains a ‘human cocoon’ feeling.
Naked Slub + Aeromul was deliberately created with an uneven and asymmetrical yarn to create a texture that resembles hand-made paper. This fabric is only present in the Adult Swaddle.
Let’s look at the statistics, shall we?
In our opinion, this industry, like most, does not need to just find new ways to ‘sustain’ itself. It needs to step by step, totally reinvent its culture and systems from the ground. We do not claim to have all the answers to this Rubik’s cube; but we are trying to do things our own way, keeping these challenges in mind. This is why we: only produce a piece and dye our raw fabrics after an order is placed, reuse our leftover fabrics, build our products to last, and are trying to build a culture around ‘mindful’ buying."