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Article: DEPT×KAPOK KNOT conversation, Part 1 “A sustainable world created by Kapok”

DEPT×KAPOK KNOT conversation, Part 1 “A sustainable world created by Kapok”

The Peaceful Climate Strike was held for seven days starting April 17th.

This activity was carried out to express our protest against Japan's climate change measures, and at the same time to increase the number of people who are concerned about the current situation and take a step toward action. During the period, on April 22, an IG LIVE was held between DEPT representative eri, who led this action, and KAPOK KNOT representative Fukai.

In the first place, this conversation came about because DEPT and KAPOK KNOT were creating a collaborative product. We will deliver the first and second parts of eri and Fukai's thoughts on the apparel industry and manufacturing. In the first part, we asked eri to delve into the material called kapok and the worldview the brand is aiming for.

【table of contents】

・Interlocutor profile
・New material called kapok sheet
・Why Kapok is sustainable
・Various uses of kapok
・The future we want to realize through Kapok

Interlocutor profile

DEPT Company Representative/Designer/Activist eri


Born in New York in 1983, raised in Tokyo. Through the second-hand clothing store DEPT, they are promoting a lifestyle and corporate approach that has as little environmental impact as possible through SNS, and are taking action with a focus on climate change and the textile industry. In recent years, he has been active beyond the boundaries of fashion, such as by starting a podcast with New York-based writer Yumiko Sakuma about social issues called "Moshi Moshi Sekai."

~What is a Peaceful climate strike~

A climate summit with major emitters was held on April 22, led by the United States. The G7 meeting will be held on June 11th, where decarbonization will be the main agenda item, and the COP26 will be held in November. This 7-day event was held to provide an opportunity to think about building a decarbonized society in Japan, as the future of Japan's climate change countermeasures is being determined .

In addition to holding a 24-hour water and salt fasting campaign titled "Resonant Hunger Strike," various people who sympathize with this campaign will hold talk events to think about the climate crisis. was held.

Peaceful climate strike HP:

KAPOK KNOT representative Kisho Fukai

Mr. kishow

After graduating from Keio University in 2014, he worked for a real estate venture and a major textile manufacturer before joining his family business, Futaba Shoji Co., Ltd., an apparel manufacturer founded 75 years ago. He had doubts about the current apparel industry, which is based on mass production and mass disposal, but at the end of 2018, he encountered kapok and was convinced of his destiny. Started the KAPOK KNOT brand concept. A self-proclaimed kapok evangelist who says "kapok" more than 10 times a day.

A new material called kapok sheet

kapok sheet

eri) Kapok is a material that Japanese people are not very familiar with.

Fukai) There are over 150 types of kapok in the world, and it is even known as an ornamental plant in Japan. KAPOK KNOT is a brand that makes plant-based winter clothing by making thin sheets of cotton from the nuts of the kapok tree, which is native to Indonesia .

eri) I often see plants, but I don't recognize their names...! Is the technology used to make sheets special?

(Fukai) Kapok's fibers are extremely short and light, so it has the property of flying away even when made into thread, so it has not been used much in the apparel industry until now. But we overcame this by creating a sheet. My previous job was at a textile manufacturer, and my father was a cashmere maker and my mother was a futon maker, so as a result of making full use of various techniques, I was able to offer my products in the form of clothing. I did it!

How I met Kapok

eri) When did Kisho-kun first come across kapok?

Fukai) When I was studying materials at my previous job at a textile company, I happened to learn about kapok. However, it was a material that received no attention at all, with people saying, ``Kapok cannot be used as a fiber, so you don't need to learn about it.'' I had always thought that the characteristics of kapok were interesting, so I decided to develop it as a new fiber by combining it with the family business I mentioned earlier and using the skills from my previous job.

eri) If I remember correctly, you went all the way to Indonesia, right?

Fukai) I went there because I thought I couldn't start without seeing the real thing! However, kapok is not a traceable material. I had no idea where to visit since they grow wild everywhere in the area. I managed to ask the Indonesian consulate to introduce me to a kapok farmer, and I was able to meet the actual kapok (lol)

Indonesia 2 shots

eri) Amazing energy...I really respect him.

Why Kapok is sustainable

eri) I understand that kapok is a more cyclical plant than cotton , but is that because it is a nut?

Fukai: Well, it's one-eighth lighter than cotton, and it's a fruit that grows every year, so it's very productive. Nowadays, there is a trend to increase greenery around the world, and I think the fact that we don't have to cut down trees is a great point. It is also highly self-growing, so it requires almost no pesticides or water to grow . This is one of the reasons I fell in love with Kapok!

Kapok that grows into a tree

eri) By the way, what is kapok a plant often used for around the world?

Fukai) The most common thing is stuffing such as cushions. Traditionally, it was often used as mattress filling in countries of origin such as Indonesia, but as spring mattresses gradually replaced it, local demand was decreasing. As a result, people were forced to cut down the trees and sell them as lumber, saying, ``Kapok nuts alone are not enough to make money.'' Even though it was such a good material, it was not being utilized because there was no use for it.

That's why I started thinking that by creating a context where it can be used in place of down, we can protect local employment while also protecting forests . I believe that this is the reason why I will work on Kapok as I work in the apparel industry for decades to come.

Various uses of kapok

Kapok cotton

eri) Come to think of it, kapok can also be used to absorb oil, right?

Fukai) That's right. Kapok can absorb 30 times its weight in oil, so it can absorb heavy oil flowing into the ocean, for example.

eri) If you use a sheet like a polymer to absorb the heavy oil that comes out when a tanker runs aground, it ends up producing garbage. When I was in Mauritius the other day, I felt a dilemma about using heavy oil derived from petroleum . So I thought it would be great if I could substitute kapok.

By the way, I wonder if KAPOK KNOT has not received much attention in the sense of cold protection and warmth, rather than the use of filling or oil absorption.

Fukai) That's right. Apparently it was once used as a futon, but Indonesia is warm to begin with, so it didn't seem to get much attention...!

The future we want to realize through Kapok

eri) So, Kisho-kun, how do you want society and the apparel industry to change through kapok?

Fukai: What we want to achieve is to lower the cost of participating in sustainability . KAPOK KNOT's products promote their features in the order of function → design → sustainability: "I recommend this function" → "I think this design is stylish" → "That actually leads to sustainability." We are aiming for a world where I believe that by allowing people to experience our products in this way, we can create an opportunity for them to say, ``Sustainability is familiar to me, so let's try different things.''

Even though Eri is involved in a variety of activities, I think there are some people who feel that she is far away from them. Therefore, rather than creating a divided society where everyone says, ``Yes, let's start being sustainable now!'', our desire at KAPOK KNOT is to create a gradation where people can gradually participate.

haori3 shot

eri) I think the world of 0 and 100 is difficult, so I think the choice of the word gradation is really good. agreement.

When you engage in activities like this, you tend to become too centripetal, or you end up trying to steer the world as you want it to be. However, it is also very important to create gradations when creating things, and to be conscious of the speed with which you can move forward with the person who picks up your product .

* * * * *

It seems that eri strongly sympathized with the sustainable world view that Kapok brings to life and the role that KAPOK KNOT plays in creating the gradation that KAPOK KNOT is aiming for!

In the second part, we will talk more passionately about the collaborative products that we are planning and the issues that we both feel the apparel industry faces.

*Click here for the second part