New Project

Our company, Mode & Classic LLC, accepted an investment in April. The amount of investment was worth several times the amount by which we can present our show at New York Fashion Week.

I believe that the Kimono Fashion Show which we presented in February at New York Fashion Week was successful in terms of the show that tried to demonstrate potential magnificence of Kimono at one of the biggest fashion venue. We received various media exposure in the world, including Newsweek and NBC News.

But reality hearts. Kimonos were never sold after our show and only one dress was sold.

Our original purpose of the show was to save Kimono craftsmen / artisans, but aging of Kimono craftsmen and bankruptcies of Kimono factories continue throughout Japan. Even if I continue exhibiting Kimonos at New York Fashion Week, I am afraid that there would be some discrepancy between my wish and people’s needs, and I could never reach the goal before the collapse of the Kimono industry. After our show at New York Fashion Week, I am easily aware that we cannot continue the similar show at the world-wide fashion venues.

I have started the new project. In this project, I directly contact with and ask the Kimono craftsmen/artisans who weave Kimono textiles and/or dye fabrics. We develop and design products: dresses, suits, and accessories, other than Kimono.

In my previous project in February, I actually collaborated with Kimono Artisan Kyoto, Kimono production wholesalers. It is difficult to distinguish them from Kimono craftsmen/artisans, but for kimonos which needs multiple steps until completion of production, Kimono production wholesalers make all steps efficient and control craftsmen. In my current project, I hope directly to contact and ask craftsmen. But because Japanese Kimono industry is old and rigid, I was not able to get any information about craftsmen from these Kimono production wholesalers.

I started from “Zero”.

I knew that there are some people who don’t want designers like me directly to contact with craftsmen. So, I started to find craftsmen behind the scenes. Initially, I was not able to find any connection with them.

I need to find Kimono craftsmen who could help me by myself. I have more than 2,000 friends on Facebook. First, I searched people who were on photos with the Kimono wholesalers. Second, I examined closely these people on Facebook. Then, I directly contacted with all the people who I thought should be Kimono craftsmen.

Because I followed my intuition, I was not sure who real Kimono craftsmen, working at their workshops, were. To tell the truth, it is difficult to distinguish craftsmen/artisans from wholesalers, only according to Facebook articles.

When I contacted with Kimono craftsmen, some were happy to discuss about our new project, while others denied to communicate with me. I was often told “please contact me though wholesalers” before I explained our new project. I thought that denial from craftsmen is quite normal. Thus, I was very impressed that some craftsmen accepted my inquiry.

I never gave up, and continued contacting with Kimono craftsmen. I finally met some craftsmen who told me “We will help you in confidence.” These craftsmen asked other craftsmen to help me, and I have made networks of Kimono craftsmen in that town. Luckily, that town is the key location for Japanese Kimono industry.

It seemed that light suddenly shines when wondering in a pitch-dark cave.

Then, I realized that though our new production with craftsmen, I have established the framework in which I can directly make inquires to Japanese craftsmen from USA. I gradually spread my networks in Japan. Sometimes I got craftsmen’s advices on the designs of our new products. Sometimes I discussed about the small details of the designs and textiles with craftsmen.

I think that in our new project, I make progress on my mission: “to pass on Japanese hand-made works to the next generation with Kimono craftsmen/artisans.”

I am concerned that our new project is recognized just as a quest for profit by our company. It’s possible that many people don’t understand that we are trying to pass on the arts of Kimono creation to the next generation, even if we use Kimono textiles, but don’t use them for Kimono.

Dress making in the world market is, of course, very competitive. I think that it’s easier for me, with a lot of carrier for Kimono, to continue Kimono fashion shows. It should be harder for me to enter into competition with other designers. But I want to challenge for Kimono, because I love Kimono and the arts of Kimono creation. Because I want to pass on these arts to the next generation before they vanish.

The home base of my business is New York, USA. Unfortunately, something with the form of Kimono are not sold enough for sustaining and even reviving Kimono industry in Japan. It should take very long time until Kimonos are accepted in the world fashion market. I cannot afford to wait any longer. I also need some outcome for the investment. I cannot afford to stick to just the form of Kimono. I need selects products, made by Kimono textiles/fabrics, which have possibility to be sold in the world markets. 

My mission does not change:
“We want people in the world wear real Kimono.”

It’s not easy decision, but I decide to create products beyond the form of Kimono, using real Kimono textiles/fabrics. I hope that my proposal will be able to influence on world-wide fashion market.

It should be a small step, but I believe that this small step can expand and make big progress 5 year or 10 year later.

This project starts with our dream:
“We want people in the world wear real Kimono.”

The production is ongoing. We can publish out products in several months.

Please support us!

Kobayashi-Some Kobo in Tango, Kyoto Japan


Coverage of our Kimono Fashion Show in Miami Herald

Miami Herald is the oldest newspaper in Florida. According to the Japanese Wikipedia, Miami Herald is the primary newspaper in Miami, which more than 1 million people subscribed. The kimono fashion show I presented in March was finally covered by Miami Herald.
I know that the photographer came to the venue of the show, but I am very surprised. Terra, coordinator of this event in Miami Beach Botanical Garden, happily emailed me about this coverage.
The location of the Botanical Garden is wonderful, but many people in Miami Beach don’t know the Botanical Garden, so officers of Miami Beach Botanical Garden were very pleased to know this coverage.
The general consulate of Japan in Miami asked me this kimono fashion show in January. I continued to prepare the show for about 2 months:

To decide the theme of the show.
To determine the number of the models.
To call the models suitable for the theme.
To determine how to organize the stage on the venue.
To make slides with the explanation of history and culture of kimono.
To construct the program of the talk, demonstration and show.
To determine who wore which kimono.
To write the press releases and publish it.
To prepare all the kimono and kimono accessories.

I need to do all, mainly with help of Terra and Ms. Patton, an officer of the general consulate of Japan in Miami. Because the budget was limited, and the space of the back stage was also limited, we were not able to hire the professional hair and makeup artists. I asked all the models to set hair and makeup by themselves.
The resource is limited, while we did our best to produce the kimono fashion show. Thanks to the help from all the models and supporters, we finally have created a wonderful show.

This is the online article of our shoe in Miami Herald.

One of the American models in the University wrote the letter to me in Japanese, which impressed me. I am very pleased. Thank you, all!!


Attending the Rinpa 400th Anniversary Kimono Symposium

The Rinpa 400th Anniversary Kimono Symposium was held at Kenninji Temple in Kyoto City, Japan on March 27, 2015. Kimono Artisan Kyoto invited me to this symposium as a panelist, so I graciously attended this symposium. Two days after the kimono fashion show in Miami Beach, I departed from Miami to Japan.

I did not have enough time to prepare the symposium. I had felt ashamed to talk in front of other gorgeous panelists. I desperately wrote a draft of my talk in the airplane. When I reached at Kyoto one day before the symposium, I found that our kimono fashion show in Miami Beach was covered by the established newspaper, Miami Herald, which encouraged me very well.

The followings are subjects for discussion:
1. What do you think about the present state of kimono industries and manufacturers in Japan?
2. What are needed for protection and implementation of traditional industries and kimono industries?
3. Do you know if people outside of Japan are interested in kimono? What do you think the possibility of economic impacts by visitors from outside of Japan?

As Mr. Makoto Ogawa from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry attended this symposium as a panelist, we had a chance to hear an opinion from the administrative office. I was mainly requested to give my opinion about the third subject.

Since I visited Japan for the first time in six and half years, I was surprised that visitors from foreign countries walk abound, and more people wear kimono in Kyoto than I had expected. Even though they may wear kimono made by cotton or synthetic fiber, they wear and enjoy kimono, which surprised me. The interpretation of this image may be divided, but I wanted to discuss other than I had prepared in the airplane.

First, I gave my impression of Japan and Kyoto, which I visited for the first time in six and half years. Then, I gave my opinion about how people in the foreign countries are interested in kimono.
I realize that Kyoto is the center of the kimono market. To enhance the kimono business in the world, Japanese people need make foreigners to enjoy the culture, art, and fashion in Kyoto.
I am not a good speaker in such a symposium, so I am not sure if I was able to share my opinion to the others. Yet I was very interested to hear the talks of the other panelists. I felt very pleased to attend this symposium.

In addition, for the activity to promote kimono in the world, it was very nice to watch the present state of Kyoto. 

Kenninji Temple is famous for the Wind God and Thunder God Screens, drawn and supplied by Sotatsu TAWARAYA, one of the representative Rinpa artists. Now the genuine article is acquired in the National Museum, while the reproduction is acquired in this temple. I feel honored to talks and discuss in front of this reproduction of the Wind God and Thunder God Screen.
I appreciate many supports from members of Kimono Artisan Kyoto and all the panelists of the symposium. I also thank all the audience. 

I put some photos of the wonderful symposium venue in Kenninji Temple.

Kimono Fashion Show “Emerging from Pupa”

I presented a Kimono Fashion Show on March 22. This show was sponsored by the Japanese general consulate in Miami.
I featured kimono for the Coming-of-Age Ceremony, but when I planned this show, an 11-year-old Cuban-native model, Ainhoa, directly asked me to come on stage of our show. Checking her portraits, I flashed various ideas into my mind.
The tile of this show, “Emerging from Pupa”, means that girls and boys walk up to adults. After I produced coming-of-age festival using 11 models, I wanted to demonstrate the outfit representing that one girl walks up to adult

When I came to the venue early in the morning on the day of the show, three iron panels were just installed side by side for the runway. I needed to ask to rearrange the panels to make a “runway”. I was not surprised that the runway was not well made though I had discussed about the runway setting beforehand, because I am familiar with the carpenters’ manner though the renovation of our old house. I need to produce everything for the show in US.
After my requests and a lot of discussion, the stage was set as seen in the photo below.

The photo shows the backstage of the show. The officer in the Japanese general consulate in Miami casted these models, including University students in Miami, and volunteers of the Saturday Japanese School in Miami. All of them were courteous and cute.

The fashion show started. There were only two spot lights on the stage, but both, installed on the entry of runway, did not work well for shining the stage. I feel regret for the light setting. The stage was a little dim, so all the photos are not clear.

The first model was a man with Haori-Hakama.

Then, girls models appeared with Furisode kimono, representing girls cerebrated on Coming-of-Age Ceremony.

The final of the 11 model was Ezra, who belongs to the same lab as my husband in University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Ezra escorted 11-year-old Ainhoa.

As I wrote, Ainhoa’s outfit represented that one girl walks up to adult. I asked just her to set her hair down. I dressed her in Maiko kimono outfit with a plumage robe. She wore Pokkuri geta sandals.

She appeared with great cheer and bravo from the audience.
At last, all the models walked together on the runway.

Then, Ainhoa re-appeared.

All the show was done with full of shouts and applause from the audience. I was very deeply impressed by ringing applause. “Bravo!” went straight to my heart.

After the show, Aihnoa took photos with guest. Very cute.. I also took a photo.

I thank all the wonderful models very much. 
I appreciate consuls and officers in the Japanese general consulate in Miami, as well as many people who help me to organize this event. Thank you very much! 
I also appreciate all the audience for coming to our show. There were more visitors coming to the venue than we had expected. I am so sorry that all of them were not able to enter the venue. 
After the show, we took commemorative photos with full of smiles 
I want to express my deepest appreciation of people coming to our kimono fashion show. Thank you, all!


Demonstration before Kimono Fashion Show

The kimono fashion show successfully finished on March 22.
As larger audience came to the show than we had expected, the venue was overcrowded. I am very pleased that our event was enthusiastically received, but I also feel very sorry because many people were not able to enter the venue.
Before the kimono fashion show, I first talked about kimono and Japanese culture, then I demonstrated how to tie an obi sash. I will upload the photos of the kimono fashion show next time.

At first, the board chairperson of Miami Beach Botanical Garden gave some message, wearing an Uchikake coat. When he asked to the audience who came to the Garden first time, many people in the venue raised their hands. Happily, many people came the venue just to see the fashion show.

Then, Mr. Nagashima, a consul general from the Japanese general consulate in Miami, had a brief message about this event and introduced me to the audience.

I started talking with some slides. I talked about my kimono business in the art and fashion fields in the world, based on my experience as a kimono stylist. Subsequently. I explained about the history of kimono, then about the culture and history of Furisode, featured in this kimono fashion show.

These photos show the scenes from the demonstration of obi tying. Sara, a student of my kimono class, explained, and I demonstrated how to tie it on the stage.

When I showed full length of obi, then demonstrated to form drum-style obi notch, many people were surprised.

It was really a very pleasant demonstration.


Kimono Fashion Show "Wheel of Life" in Fort Lauderdale

I produce a new kimono fashion show "Wheel of Life" at Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, FL on May 10, Sunday at 2 pm.
I show many kimono outfits for all ages and for various Japanese life events, including 7-5-3 ("Shichi-Go-San") festival, marriage, and "Miyamairi"ceremony.
Please come to join us!!

Details can be seen on the following PR.


Kimono Fashion Show in Miami Beach on March 22

I produce a kimono fashion show at Banyan Room in Miami Beach Botanical Garden on March 22, 2015 at 1pm, sponsored by the Japanese general consulate in Miami and Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

I will focus on kimono outfits inspired by the Japanese unique event "Coming-of-Age Ceremony", which cerebrates being 20 years old. The title of the show is "Emerging from Pupa", implying the wish that youths spread their wing around the world. I express this wish by styling and design of kimonos. The fashion show unveils many ensembles for young women with Furisode long-sleeved kimonos and ensembles for young men with Haori-Hakama kimonos. At the end of this show, an outfit of "Emerging from Pupa" is presented using a plumage Hagoromo robe.

Please come to join us!