“Malboro” derives from the Japanese onomatopoeia boro, the sound of an upset stomach. Their name is most likely derived from the Latin and Greek words mal (meaning bad) and boros (meaning breath), a reference to their infamous attack. The name could also be a reference to Marlboro Cigarettes, since the creatures often spew horrid fumes.
“I’m wearing Chimala jeans, a Margaret Howell button up under a Merz B Schwanen short sleeve crew neck and my old Bass loafers. I need durable clothes that are easy to move around in and hold up well. Hence, a lot of denim, heavier weight cotton button ups and blouses, chore coats. I like French work wear and Japanese boro vests and pants from the Meji era. Lots of layers and incorporating different fabrics and textures.”
A visit to Somerset House London for the Beg Boro Transform exhibition.
During the Edo period (1603-1868) Japanese commoners were only permitted to wear clothes that were dyed blue, brown, grey or black. Cotton had been cultivated in southern Japan from the sixteenth century but it was considered a luxury fabric and could only be afforded by the better off urban populace. It was warmer and lighter than the cloth woven from homespun nettle, ramie or hemp. Discarded, ‘worn out’ cotton garments from the south were valued enough to be collected by merchants whose boats plied their trade up the northern coast. It was there they found a ready market. Fragments were purchased and pieced into layered clothes and futon covers by the rural poor for whom cotton cloth was rare and expensive. The making of Boro cloths and clothes continued into and beyond the Meiji period (1868-1912) Text by Andy Christian.