Kimono Stylist for the Advertisement of Verizon Wireless

At the San Francisco Airport
At the day when we needed to switch between summer and winter time, the request for the advertisement poster of Verizon Wireless came on suddenly. The request contained kimono rental and coordination, kimono styling, dressing on site of the shooting. Most of them were thrown at me. Additionally, I had only ten days for the preparation.
The posters notify the service of global coverage for Verizon Wireless cellular phones. I will attend the shooting of the Japanese-version poster. The photographer and producer were all American people. And of course, the clients were all American people.

After I affirmed the direction of the advertisement photo from her image photos, I proposed and selected her preferable kimono as a kimono stylist, coordinated obis and other kimono accessories with kimonos, and sourced all things only for a few days. I should obtain 15 furisodes, 15 komon and visiting kimonos, some men’s kimonos, some children’s kimono for both boys and girls, kimono accessories (obimakura, obiita, and so on), and Japanese style goods including bags and umbrellas. Although the leading time was very short, I should obtain many of them from Japan, due to the lack of items in NYC.

I undertook such a big business as an individual and, at the same time, got fierce pressure, wondering if I could not receive all things from Japan and if I missed deadline, owing to trivial mistakes of transfer. Because of the time difference between Japan and New York, I communicated with Japanese people in the middle of the night. Soon after dawn broke, the producer called and emailed me several times. I had really a sleepless week.

After I provided the producer with some images of men’s kimono, she asked me whether I had men’s kimonos with more gorgeous designs. She might feel that men’s kimonos were conservative. But it was a difficult request for me, because men’s kimonos are generally conservative now. I tried to find kimonos which fitted her request as much as possible. Finally I found it! In the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1603), men’s kimonos were used to be gorgeous with colorful designs. Based on them, the Japanese fashion company, United Arrows, proposed wild and gorgeous men’s kimonos and held the fashion show for “outlaws”. Indeed those kimonos looked eye-catching and colorful, but unfortunately, they were very expensive. Because I should provide many kimonos on the shooting, I could not pay such a big money for just a couple of kimonos. In the end, I had to abandon to use them. Instead, I came up with the idea whether I could use colorful yukatas for men. Soon I consulted with Mr. Kinosihta, the producer of the kimono shop “awai” in Roppongi, Tokyo, because I know he had proposed men’s yukatas to United Arrows. He kindly heard my requests and showed me the yukata he used. But those yukatas had simple, not gorgeous, designs.

Finally I explained the producer about the history of men’s kimono and frankly told her that we could actually see gorgeous and colorful men’s kimono on some Japanese fashion shows, but they were rare and very expensive. She understood the difficulty of using those men’s kimonos for the shooting, but she still hoped more gorgeous men’s kimonos. I realized that it was difficult to convey kimono culture to American people.

Day by day, cardboard boxes of kimonos from Japan were getting built up in my kimono class room. All my students were surprised and asked me what on earth they were. Because of the pre-shooting, I could not show them inside of boxes, but I told them that I would attend the shooting of advertisement photos as a kimono coordinator, stylist, and dresser, and then I coached them how to dress casts in kimonos on the shooting.

It was really hard days like a romp before the shooting. And additionally, some accidents happened on the site of the shooting. Furthermore, another accident happened, when the advertisement photo were published on the Wall Street Journal last month.
Through the business experience of these American advertisement posters, I keenly feel how difficultly I express kimonos under the circumstance where only I attend the shooting as a Japanese professional. But all things including some accidents become funny memories right now.

Recently the producer sent me the final version of the Ad poster.
I appreciate many people both in Japan and USA, helping me.

The poster was protected by poster boards on both sides and packed in a plastic sheet. The producer gave greatest consideration to send me the poster. Thank you again!


Blogger Mandi said...

You have a very nice blog and I enjoy reading your adventures as a kimono dresser. This looks like a challenging, but fun photo shoot and project. Please keep posting!

July 2, 2009 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Hiro said...

Nice to meet you, I am Hiro.
Thank you for your messege.
I am very happy to read your comment.
I will continue to post my blogs.
Please visit my blog again.

July 3, 2009 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Ryth said...

Wow, what an adventure!

That's quite an accomplishment. Ten days, all those kimono, and dressing everyone. Did your students assist you?

Thank you for sharing! Everyone looks wonderful.

July 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Hiro said...

Thank you for your comment. I am pleased to share our experience with you. One of my student assisted me on the day of shooting.

Now American students increase in my class. I hope many students of my kimono class to obtain the techniques of kimono dressing on various situations.

July 20, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

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