What is kintsugi and why have we named ourselves after it?

Disability, Fashion, Inclusion, Women -

What is kintsugi and why have we named ourselves after it?

In this blog post Kintsugi's founder, Emma, explains what kintsugi means and why it inspired an inclusive, disability-conscious clothing brand. 

I know what it feels like to think you're broken. I used the word to describe myself in the past, when I hadn't really processed my own health diagnoses or started to understand how they affect me and why. 

It's a powerful word and one I wish nobody felt about themselves. It implies a state of having less worth than others or being less 'whole'. Broken things get hidden or fixed in a way that conceals the event or experience that led to it changing from its previous state. 

I think this is where the ethos of kintsugi really comes into play. The fact of the matter is, we all change as people. We pick up scars - physical and emotional - as we go through life. Our perception - or others' perception - of these experiences and their outcomes is the problem. 

Model Caitlin Fulton, wearing a gold bathing suit, sitting on a gold box, wearing gold makeup

Model Caitlin Fulton, taking part in a kintsugi photoshoot for Zebedee Management

I remember seeing a model on Boux Avenue's website. On her leg were what appeared to be self-harm scars. I have the same patterns on my own right leg in exactly the same place. They hadn't been photoshopped away or hidden and it made me feel seen. I don't know who made the decision - the model themselves or the company - but it was a powerful statement: there is no shame to cover up here. I am not more valuable or beautiful when my scars are concealed. 

The art and philosophy of kintsugi are both breathtaking to me and, I know, to many others. They remind us that there is beauty and truth in imperfection and that, actually, our experiences and their results don't make us 'less than'; they make us unique and we should never feel the need to cover them up or minimise them. 

When it comes to Kintsugi as a company, I think the ethos is meaningful. It is not to say that our customers are broken. Far from it. The message here is about strength and about challenging any internalised feelings we have picked up about being 'broken' and seeing ourselves as whole - with our emotional and physical experiences contributing, not detracting, from that. 

 British-based ceramics artist Iku Nishikawa shows Emma one method of kintsugi from her workshop in Oxford

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