KIMONO is ultimately eco-friendly
“KIMONO is expensive but ultimately eco-friendly”, this is what I am convinced by working long time in the field of KIMONO.
As mentioned in the previous column (Thoughts about KIMONO in modern age (Part 1)), though a KIMONO looked not affordable to you at first, once you decided to spend for it certain amount of money from your income, you will treat it with a great care in a state of happy mind which other cannot understand, which is exactly what I said: Pleasure to STORE and WEAR.
KIMONO is a garment that you can wear for decades, as there is no specific trend like other western clothes.
For example, “KISSHO-MOYŌ” (吉祥模様) is a design of KIMONO seen as auspicious but actually this is very traditional design unaffected by changes in fashion.
If it becomes too flashy for you thinking of your age, you can give it to your child or grandchild since KIMONO can be re-tailored easily thanks to its structure that all the parts are cut straightly.
Not only adjusting the vertical and horizontal length, the base color can be changed even as you can see the picture on the left.
We have a technique called “ARAI-BARI” (洗い張り) where you take out all the sewn stitches from KIMONO and cleanse it to return to a flat fabric and tailor it from scratch.
Like jewels in western world, treating KIMONO preciously makes it possible to pass it generation by generation, which is why I think KIMONO is ultimately eco-friendly.
In addition, there is another thing that we cannot forget that can be passed is the Memory.
When I open the KIMONOs that my mother was wearing in her lifetime, I recall her immediately and wonder when she wore, it is like:
“Is this, maybe at the occasion of my Shichi-Go-San (七五三) festival or maybe my school-entrance ceremony?”
“Yes this is the HŌMONGI of KYO-YŪZEN (京友禅) that she made enthusiastically to wear at my engagement ceremony.”
“This is the KOMON (小紋) KIMONO with marbling technique which she once wore at our family dinner.”
“Yes, this ŌSHIMA-TSUMUGI (大島紬) was worn by her quite often in new year days.”
And then think like:
“This marbling KOMONO KIMONO has small stains so let’s order the ARAI-BARI.”
“The HAKKAKE (八掛: the visible lining parts) of her ŌSHIMA-TSUMUGI isn’t my taste, so let’s change it to my favorite type”, etc…
As you can see, KIMONO can become a bond between mothers and children too.
I think the role of KIMONO shop is not only to sell new items, but also to analyze what a customer possesses now in her closet and advise to re-use them as possible as it can be.
In fact, few people knows the fact that KIMONOs can be re-tailored or re-used for herself. In KIMONO market, big national chains engage only in selling new items most of the case, so small individual shops like mine will have to compensate the missing parts and have mission to express how to treat it for long-time use.
For instance, KIMONO of TSUMUGI which is very precious made by elaborate workmanship is most likely un-reproducible. Regretfully, there are many people who easily throw it away without knowing its real value just because it looks stale.
We have to keep in mind that KIMONO is ultimately eco-friendly and its value could be raised through the ages, yes, the world of KIMONO is as deep as that of jewels.