Kyoto revives interest in kimonos

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Buoyed by renewed interest in many elements of traditional Japanese culture -- ranging from art through traditional design to clothing and music -- the city of Kyoto is to open a shop in Tokyo selling kimonos.

(Relaxnews) -

Buoyed by renewed interest in many elements of traditional Japanese culture - ranging from art through traditional design to clothing and music - the city of Kyoto is to open a shop in Tokyo selling kimonos.

The store - named White Crow - is scheduled to open on March 2 in the upmarket Aoyama district of Tokyo and will stock a range of traditional designs as well as collections that will appeal to younger women.

The aim is to encourage people to no longer consider the kimono to only be something that is worn on special occasions or to formal events, Keiji Maki, a spokesman for the city government, told Relaxnews.

"We believe our main customers will be younger women, between the late 20s and 40s, who are fashion-conscious," Maki said, adding that the modern designs will also appeal as everyday clothing for young city-dwellers around the world.

"There are many women who are interested in kimono, but it is not common to wear these garments casually, which is what we are hoping to promote."

Kimonos are traditionally very expensive - the most elaborate, hand-made versions can cost tens of thousands of euros, while the accompanying accessories, such as the correct sandals, undergarments and "obi" sash can double that figure.

But White Crow aims to make its products more accessible and is keeping prices for individual kimonoq to between Y100,000 (€805) and Y300,000 (€2,417).

"Recently, there has been a trend for the re-evaluation of Japanese culture, including kimono, and traditional goods are being rediscovered," said Maki.

A ceremony to mark the opening of the store will be held on February 28, attended by Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa and Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama - who is certain to be wearing a kimono herself. A flamboyant former dancer, Mrs. Hatoyama describes herself as a "life composer" who designs the interior of people's homes and selects their clothes, including - famously - those of her husband.

JR

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