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|The Trade: Vintage Kimono Décor|
Words and inspiration by Kenny Beall and Hayley Wilson of The Trade
During my youth, I had the privilege of living overseas in Japan where I experienced the creative artistic style of the Japanese people. One of my most vivid memories of Japanese art was that of the kimono. Kimono, which literally means a "thing to wear," is the traditional garment worn by men, women and children. Kimonos vary in style, color and sizes, and are typically hand sewn of silk or satin, ranging between $10,000 and $30,000 for a quality garment.
These decorative robes are most widely worn during “Coming of Age“ celebrations, a Japanese holiday held to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of 20 and welcome them to adulthood. A unique and distinctive difference in kimonos worn by women is the patterns cover the entire garment for unmarried women and patterns of a married woman do not pass above the waist.
As early as 1923, kimonos were soon being replaced by more convenient Western wear. Just as business casual is being redefined in the West with denim jeans becoming more widely accepted in the workplace, kimonos soon became a past tradition and prized antique.
Step out your door here in Kansas City and you’ll see evidence that the kimono has been given a new life in fashion and décor right here at home. Local designers have found creative ways to incorporate vintage kimono fabrics into works of art and fashion that will delight your senses. With a wide range of designs, textures and colors, these designers have given kimonos a whole new breath of life.
Linda Flake of Kimono Art Studio (4108 Genessee St.), who you may have seen at this years Plaza Art Fair, has a line of fresh, modern and sophisticated home décor and fashion accessories created from vintage Japanese kimono and obi (a decorative sash). Included in her collection are purses, pillows and one of my personal favorites is the kimono-framed pieces, perfectly encased like a piece of art. Recently added to the line are lampshades covered with vintage kimono fabrics that sit atop mid-century modern lamp bases. These lamps add both a touch of global influence and unique design to an interior space. Flake’s designs land in other local décor shops, such as Urban Dwellings Design (412 Delaware St.).
Another great source for repurposed vintage kimonos is Asiatica, located just off Rainbow Boulevard in the neighborhood of Westwood. Asiatica has been designing women’s wear woven from kimono and Japanese contemporary textiles. Every piece is unique and made right here in their Kansas City store. Elizabeth Wilson, owner and designer, travels throughout Asia, including Japan, to find unique textiles and art to bring back to the Midwest and creates one-of-a-kind garments.
If you’d like to experience the textures, colors and beautiful designs of some of these beautiful textiles, take a trip to these local sources and bring a little culture to your home.