This is the story of the real outfits of real people from back in the 19th through early 20th century in Japan.
Not of a flashy princess or a girl of a noble family, she was of an ordinary girl of 120 years ago in Japan, whose casual clothes still give off unlimited artistic potential.
Tattsuke were underwear worn by women also used as work bottoms in the Nanbu district of Aomori prefecture. This very high sewing quality of decoration on underwear is hardly seen anywhere in the world.
Due to the unsuitable ground for rice cropping, the Nanbu district, the Pacific side of Aomori pref., was the poorest amongst the Tohoku (northeast) area in Japan.
Since people could not afford luxurious cotton, they made their outfits from hemp. Since indigo used to dye cloths was expensive, lighter indigo shades were the mainstream of their fashion.
In order to protect from icy cold caused by the severe easterly winds, people stitched their underwear tightly to fill out all the possible gaps. Since bottoms were more vulnerable to damages than tops, these Tattsuke were thus sewn with special care. People had stitched rare cotton threads onto their hemp clothes, some of which even formed various shapes of decoration. Their stern everyday life had created unique sense of beauty, exclusive to this area. Tattsuke were therefore the products of their bright sense and sturdy spirits as survivors.
We may associate workwear as tattered-some. Yet for people in farming villages back in time, work clothes were not merely for dirty conditions, but also for their social and public interactions. It would be comparable to an office ladyfs outfit or a business manfs suit of today.
Especially for women, since they worked on the fields together with men, workwear had to be in decent quality. Though it was, of course, not of party wear quality, they still tried all the possible means to create sensible beauty in it.
Tattsuke were practical and functional as well. Above the knees were loose for easier movements for fieldwork, while below the knees were extremely tight-fitting so bugs and dirt could not get in. Tattsuke were similar in style to sarouel pants of today. The linings, patched with many layers of cloth to cover torn parts, now show a new type of aesthetic combination.
These impressive embroideries were simply attributed to these ordinary girlsf blood, sweat, and tears to fill their pouring aspirations for beauty.
It was not too long ago when women in households made clothes for their family members. In their life of material poverty, they cherished just one cloth and one thread making the best use of everything they could get. Only their strong wills and longings for a better self made the creation of these artistic workwear possible. Please enjoy the art created by numerous nameless village girls from 120 years ago in this country.