We hope you enjoyed reading our last blog post where we talked about the idea of perfection, where it comes from, and what consequences it brings along. This post is dedicated to the notion of imperfection, and together we want to examine what we can learn from other cultures to welcome it.
We came across the idea of imperfection as something desired, through the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. This expression is untranslatable, but the meaning behind it is the beauty of imperfect things. When researching other cultures that consider or strive for imperfection, we realised that quite often these cultures are far from the western world, cultures that haven’t been infiltrated by capitalism at such an early stage.
Let us show you what we found:
In the Punjab region in India and Pakistan women use a traditional embroidery technique called Phulkari. This technique helps to produce beautiful regular patterns, but the women sometimes incorporate small changes to mark irregularity. They do it to protect the owner of the garment from the evil eye or to mark an event that took place during the production of the piece.
Another example comes from all the way across the globe: In the Navajo culture imperfection also plays a major role. Not to offend their God, the only one who makes perfect creations, the Navajo people deliberately build in little flaws into their rugs. Those flaws don’t distract from the beauty of the rug but add value. In the Arab world as well, people emphasise that humans can’t be perfect as opposed to God by including irregularities when creating highly decorated ceilings of mosques.
Finally, let us go back to Japan. Wabi-Sabi is a term that the Japanese refer to as “the delightful contemplation of what is old and worn. It was also used to talk about the beauty of faded or withered things. Sabi could also mean ‘old and elegant’, or ‘being rusty’, with an untranslatable impression of peacefulness”, (japanobjects.com). We find it fascinating that in Japanese culture people celebrate the passing of time and see the “damages” as something sublime. It is an idea that talks positively about ageing, about change, about breaking and imperfection per se. It seems so foreign to us, in our idealised world, to understand that imperfection has its own charm. That it is a choice to embrace all the positivity about the notion of ‘old’ and ‘imperfect’ and celebrate it.
We now learned to see that the pursuit of perfection, however innate it is, can be challenged, that we should welcome imperfection more consciously. Not only should we do it in reference to our vintage shop, for the sake of the environment, but also to help us accept and embrace the ageing process and maybe even the decline of us and everything around us. To make peace with it is what would contribute to more happiness in so many spheres of our lives.
Applying all the newly learned knowledge to our new collection, we confidently present all the pieces with and without flaws. As all our pieces are worth living on, regardless of their age.