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Student Showcase Archive

Leren Li

PhD Work

PhD work

Transcultural Patchwork: Rethinking Japanese Boro and Mending Culture

The construction of all cultures is like a patchwork, and Japan is not an exception. But the craft, boro, is used to make special claims about Japan, regarding the geo-culture, social movement and the aesthetics of daily lifestyles. In the field of contemporary art and design field, boro has become an example of sustainable textile and expression of resistance to the mass production industry. The humble textile born of necessity a century ago, now becomes wearable and fashionable again, inspiring contemporary designers in many fields. Under what circumstances is boro used? How can boro be creatively defined under transcultural contexts and practised as a haptic knowledge in design? This research explores the creative potential of boro through its living history, and focuses on the flow of material circulations through different agents under various cultural contexts.



  • Leren Li
  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    History of Design, 2016–2020

  • Leren Li is a PhD candidate in the RCA History of Design programme in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum. Leren is working on Japanese patchwork, mending culture and contemporary fashion theory.  Her PhD research explores the creative potential of Japanese patchwork boro through its living history, and focus on the flow of material circulations through different agents under various cultural contexts. 

    Prior to beginning Leren's PhD in London, she received a Master of Arts degree in Fashion Studies program from Parsons School of Design. Her research concentrates on subculture studies, creative industries in Asia and contemporary Chinese fashion in the context of material culture and visual culture studies. 

  • Degrees

  • MA Fashion Studies, Parsons School of Design, New York, USA, 2014-2016
  • Conferences

  • "Beyond the Photoshopped Sherman: Manipulating and Exhibiting Fashion Photography in Museums in the Digital Age." Revisiting the Gaze: Feminism, Fashion & the Female Body, Chelsea College of Arts, University of Arts London, London, UK (June, 2017).; "A Silent Resistance: Rethinking Fashion in China Through Chinese Hipsters - Wen Yi Qing Nian." The End of Fashion, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand (December, 2016).