Pokemon Diglett inspires biodegradable T-shirts
environment Sep 15, 2022

Pokemon Diglett inspires biodegradable T-shirts

Threads made from washi paper can join earth-loving mole at end of wearable life

by yui sawada
J-STORIES - Pokemon character Diglett is a peace-loving mole who likes to cultivate and enrich the soil in which he lives. So, it seems natural that he should give his name to a line of T-shirts that are biodegradable, meaning they can join the lovable earth-dweller at the end of their wearable life.
What gives these T-shirts their decomposability can found in the yarn, which takes a leaf out of the pages of a very traditional Japanese product: "washi" paper. Almost the entire product is made from washi thread, including the tags, which are conventionally made of polyester.
The T-shirts are produced by Tokyo clothing brand Original Stitch, which is part of World Co. Ltd. The company specializes in garments that are custom-made, which is a more sustainable production method as it avoids mass production and discarding unwanted inventory. But the Diglett duds mark the first time the company has produced clothes from eco-friendly materials.
Both the fabric and thread used to make the Diglett T-shirts are made from washi paper and are biodegradable.      Source: ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
Both the fabric and thread used to make the Diglett T-shirts are made from washi paper and are biodegradable.      Source: ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
When buried in the earth, the washi fibers used to make the T-shirts are broken down by microorganisms, enriching the soil. According to chemical analysis outfit GC Technology Inc., just 51 days after a T-shirt has been buried microbial diversity and activity values were more than three times higher than in a control sample.
Diglett is a Pokémon character based on a mole. He likes to cultivate and enrich the forest soil.     Source: ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
Diglett is a Pokémon character based on a mole. He likes to cultivate and enrich the forest soil.     Source: ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
“The disposal of apparel products is a problem, so the project was launched with the idea that, if we could develop products that return to the soil after getting old, these new products would be friendly to the global environment,” the T-shirt project director, Kosugi Kaname, told J-stories
And Original Japan's project leader, Taichi Nemoto, added that by collaborating with Pokemon, the globally known Japanese media franchise featuring over 900 imaginary creatures, the company hopes "the concept of ‘sustainability’ will become a familiar issue to as many people as possible.”
As well as Diglett T-shirts made using washi yarn, there are other eco-friendly T-shirts made from Indian organic cotton and recycled Suvin cotton (a rare and highly valuable fiber grown only in southern India). The precious Suvin is recycled from cotton that falls off when the suvin yarn is spun.
A T-shirt made from washi thread (left), and another T-shirt that contains Suvin cotton.          Source: ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
A T-shirt made from washi thread (left), and another T-shirt that contains Suvin cotton.          Source: ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
Translation and editing by Tony McNicol
Top page photo by ©2022 Pokémon/Nintendo/CR/GF
For inquires about this article, please contact us at jstories@pacificbridge.jp

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