Leather items stitched with Japanese ‘mottainai’ philosophy

Quality leather scraps left over after making fashion items have been given new life as material for making accessories with sophisticated designs, through a project aiming to use material that would otherwise be discarded.

Under the project, dubbed ReLEATHeR, smartphone cases, long wallets, card cases and other small items have been sold at stores and an online shop.

The scraps are of various types, including cowhide, cordovan and goatskin, as well as exotic leathers such as crocodile, lizard, ostrich and snake, said Hitomi Mizukami, a spokeswoman for A Dot Co. Her company, based in Tokyo, is promoting the project with Hiro Co., a manufacturer and retailer of leather stationery articles in Nara Prefecture.

Small leather pieces are sewn together by skilled craftspeople to create a patchwork of beautiful surfaces. As each piece is a different color, shape and texture, finished products have their own unique feel. About two tons of leather scraps per year are used for the project, Mizukami said.

The project is underpinned by the notion of “mottainai” (too good to go to waste), a Japanese phrase based on the traditional belief that objects have souls. Prior to its leather project, A Dot launched a mottainai food project aimed at serving for affordable prices quality fish and vegetables marked for disposal for failing to meet visual aesthetic standards at restaurants.

Store information can be found in Japanese at releather.jp

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