The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment. The idea behind it is to create a simple and functional piece of couture, from one piece of fabric. When worn, a kimono often indicates the wearer's age, gender, the formality of the occasion, and sometimes, their marital status.
In ancient Japan, the kimono was considered daily wear by the Japanese people. In this article, we will explore the uniqueness of this traditional garment and its influence to global fashion.
The Japanese Kimono Today
Although Japanese people now wear kimono when they have ceremonial occasions such as weddings, they rarely wear them in their daily lives. However, there has been a recent boom in re-embracing historical Japanese traditions, and young women will wear kimono or yukata (informal cotton kimono) when sightseeing in ancient towns such as Kyoto, or going out to enjoy festivals and fireworks events.
How the Kimono has influenced the world of fashion?
For centuries, the West has looked to Japan for inspiration. Since the early 1850s, when international trade activities were initiated, Japan has opened its doors to a world of new designs, styles and materials.
The Kimono has influenced fashion all around the world and became a key source of inspiration for famous fashion designers. Alexander McQueen was one of the most noticeable admirers of the Japanese kimono. In addition, you may find many Kimono inspired costumes in the Star Wars series, it is heavily influenced by the film of Akira Kurosawa “The Hidden Fortress”. George Lucas also drew upon many elements of Japanese culture and cinema, particularly its fashion.
Different Types of Kimono
Kimonos come in many different styles, each worn for a different occasion. The number of family crests on the garment is also a key factor in determining the formality of the garment.
Yukata is a cotton kimono worn in summer, it’s a casual version of the kimono, typically made from a less expensive material such as cotton or a synthetic material.
Tomosode is a type of kimono worn by married women, its pattern is always below the waist and has a beautiful design.
Houmongi is a semi-formal kimono which can be worn by both married and unmarried women. The pattern flows over the shoulder to the seams in the back and is visible on the sleeves and under the waist.
A Furisode is decorated with color pattern that cover fully the whole garment. The longer the sleeve is, the more formal it is. It is the most formal kimono for unmarried women to wear in special occasions including coming of age ceremony, wedding ceremony and tea ceremony.
Komon Kimono has a repeating pattern that often with vertical stripes. It is known as the casual kimono. In fact, this was the most common way to dress before Western clothes became popular in Japan.
Kimono fashion with a twist:
Thanks to a worldwide interest in Asian fashion, this led to a kimono renaissance in Japan. Kimono collectors and enthusiasts have increased around the world. Japanese people feel happy to see tourists taking a keen interest in Japanese cultural heritage, especially because young Japanese often have little interest continuing the kimono industry; by sharing kimono with foreigners the tradition can live on in a new and modern way; many locals even welcome modification and hybridization of traditional kimono with other cultures’ attributes.
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