Atelier

2021 - 2022 | Makers House

DNJ Paper

Designers Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran (PhD) and Jake Nakashima-Edwards use traditional Japanese paper (washi), made from the bark of the Paper Mulberry tree (Broussonetia Papyrifera), in nontraditional ways of making paper clothing in response to pressing social, aesthetic, and conceptual questions related to contemporary fashion practice.

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ARTIST CONCEPT

Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran and Jake Nakashima-Edwards, working under the title DNJ Paper, create wearable paper garments as a response to the multitude of social and ethical issues posed by the fashion industry.

 

Integral to their craft is the use of traditional Japanese paper (washi), which is sourced from the bark of the Paper mulberry tree–a tree native to Asia and used by Native Pacific cultures to make barkcloth. Although an unconventional material for making clothing in the west, DNJ Paper refers to Japan’s deep history of using paper to craft exquisitely beautiful garments. Mirroring BETA and STH BNK’s desire to challenge current ways of thinking in the name of progression, DNJPaper repositions paper as a disposable material and raise it up as a material with not only a longstanding cultural history but a tool to create a dialogue around throwaway culture and fashion.

Design Philosophy

DNJ Paper is centred around the use of Japanese washi paper as a textile. Paper may not seem like a suitable material for making clothing, but can be strong and durable if made in a specific way. In Japan, clothing is one of the hundreds of products which have been made out of paper over the centuries, and is called kamiko.

Around 910 CE, Japanese Buddhist monks began creating garments out of their paper sutras, spawning a lasting tradition of wearing paper clothing that was later adopted by farmers and the upper classes. Throughout its history, Japanese paper, washi (和紙), has been produced in villages and towns across the Japanese archipelago. From these places, hundreds of local varieties of washi were produced as a result of a contingent relationship between local landscapes and communities.

Paper is for drawing, wrapping, wiping, absorbing, sketching, crumpling, covering, tearing, soaking up, writing, throwing away.

Paper can be a material for clothing…

…in longstanding cultural histories throughout Asia and the West,

…as a tool to think about and critique disposability and fashion.

This practice assumes that paper can be used for clothing and explores all the things that the material can offer.

“What role can paper garments such as these play in the critical discourse around fashion? They help us reveal aspects of how we wear and care for garments; they help us ask questions about aesthetic and intersubjective durability as well as provenance.”

— DNJ Paper, on Kamiko Bomber (2020)
ABOUT DNJ PAPER

 

DNJ Paper is a collaborative research project and fashion brand.

Designers Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran (PhD) and Jake Nakashima-Edwards use traditional Japanese paper (washi), made from the bark of the Paper Mulberry tree (Broussonetia Papyrifera), in nontraditional ways of making paper clothing in response to pressing social, aesthetic, and conceptual questions related to contemporary fashion practice.

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Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran (PhD):

 

“I am the Program Manager of the bachelor of Textiles (Design) and lecture in fashion design and research in The School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. I spent ten years living and working in Tokyo, where I learned about many traditional crafts practices. I like collaborating and am interested in what materials and relationships can emerge in communities of human and nonhuman people. In my research and design practice I work with handmade Japanese paper and garments/products made from paper. I also work in storytelling and documentation in various formats including film, drawing, text, audio, etc. and am currently undertaking research fellowships for the British Museum and the Australian Museum to research the use of paper for clothing in Japan and the Pacific Islands.”

JAKE NAKASHIMA-EDWARDS (2)
Jake Nakashima-Edwards:

 

“I am a recent graduate of the Fashion Design program at RMIT University, based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. I am interested in how fashion intersects with politics, capital, and the environment. My current practice is centred around washi paper as a textile, and the connections this material has with people, culture, and nature.”

 

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