The real reason why I got in to shibori

My name is Jenny Fong and I live in Berkeley, CA. I’m a Shibori artist and fashion designer. I grew up in the East Bay and had moved away to NYC for Fashion Design School and work. I’ve been back in the SF Bay Area for 7 years now and I’m so happy to be back!

As a kid, I used to put plastic model airplanes and air craft carriers together...The Red Baron, the USS Midway, etc. My mom came into my bedroom one day and said: “Jenny, your room’s looking like a boy’s room. How about I teach you to sew? It’s just like making model airplanes ‘cept you can wear what you make.” And I was hooked for the rest of my life on fashion and making things.

shibori vat

photo: indigo vat with the first dip of indigo

Oh, and on top of it, I’m a little clumsy and tend to spill things. That's the real reason how I got into shibori. When I was working in Men’s Design at Levi’s, I spilled coffee on my fave Made & Crafted white dress I was wearing. Such a bummer!! Luckily the Levi’s design lab had 4 beautiful indigo vats that we could use on off hours. So I dipped that dress about 8 times and the coffee stain was covered up. And you guessed it, I was hooked on indigo dyeing. Shibori was a natural further exploration for me.

photo: my studio set up.

I’ve always loved the process of taking raw materials and making something beautiful. Shibori is one of those magical techniques where you start with plain fabric or a garment and create something unexpected. It’s the surprise and one of a kind beauty that makes me happy. Silk scarves are a great way to start wearing shibori, plus they make great gifts. Looking for new ways to wear scarves?

Wondering what shibori is and how the designs are made? Check out the blog post.

I believe in the slow fashion movement where the challenge is to create garments by hand or upcycle fashion forward garments that reduce impact on climate change. I design refined and exuberant clothing with these tenets in mind. Plus I love the variance and depth of color I get using natural plant dyes on natural fibers.

My inspiration varies widely from mid-century modern architects such as Albert Frey to vintage Japanese workwear. Fashion influences vary from trompe l’oeil designer Schiaparelli to fashion icon David Bowie. The tension between sharp modern shapes and ancient techniques such as Shibori evoke a refined playfulness in my creations.

Shibori Festival at Arimatsu, Japan, June 2015

photo: Walking around the Shibori Festival in Arimatsu, Japan, June 2015.

As a side note, my husband and I took a fun 3-week to Japan in 2015. I’ve never posts photos or wrote about it! So you’ll see parts of my trip here and there throughout my blog. Where did I go? We started at the Shibori festival in Arimatsu. I almost got whiplash looking around at all the artistry. We met up with friends in Tokyo for a week. But the highlight for me was going North to hike the Magome trail. The NY Times had an article about the same segment we traveled on. It was part of the old samaurai trail leading from Kyoto to Tokyo. Then we had 1 beautiful week in Kyoto. And that wasn’t enough. I want to go back again!

beautiful shibori designs at Arimatsu Shibori Festival, June 2015

photo: Arimatsu Shibori inspiration

Look for future videos and photos about what I ate, what I saw and most importantly, what souvenirs I brought home.

Til we meet again,


p.s. Have you been to Japan? I’d love to hear about your trip in the comments below. Let me know where I should go next time.

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  • Hey Linda, I love your comment!! so funny. I hope you’re really enjoying that shirt. You deserve it.

    Jenny on
  • Enjoyed seeing your beautiful work today at the St Paul craft show. I may have to order something!!

    Ruth Harmelink on
  • Just returned to San Jose, and the fabulous TShirt you made me sent to my house. My husband got the eclipse shirt. But he will never get the custom one. Mine t shirt with blazer and so beautiful. Also the shirt I purchased navy linen, my go to for Hawaii winter breeze. Thanks for making me look fabulous.

    Linda Neuberger on

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