Create one's own images -"Kimono to Kawaii" at Japan Society

From July 11th to 23rd, an event “Kimono to Kawaii” was held at Japan Society as a summer student program. I had an offer to join this event this spring and I held a kimono a workshop on the 4th day of the event. Considering the event purpose “Kimono to Kawaii”, I decided not only to talk about kimono, but also to include Kimono fusion style which related to street fashion “Kawaii” in this workshop.

We had a workshop at my studio. All the participants were high school students. I used the slide-show and explained kimono’s history and kimono itself, and introduced various recent kimonos. As I wrote several times at my articles, kimono has many variations and we select them by each occasion. Later in the slide-show, I showed them some of my works for the fusion kimono: for example, the work which I joined Susan Cianciolo’s NY Fashion Week 2011 stage as a stylist. I think the most important thing to express your image by fashion is “Imagination”. The theme of the Susan’s fashion was Japanese sky. I explained how I stylized the models for each image by slides.

Bird in the sky
Golden rice field
I told students how I made each styling. When I made these works, first I carefully listen to designer’s world and then select obis and finally tied them to bring it to my image. I told them my images: rainbow (slide1), bird in the sky (slide2), golden rice field (slide3).

All these obis are HINAYA KYOTO’s obi fabrics. I think we can use kimono and obi fabrics not only for kimonos, but also for western clothes.

After the slide show, I demonstrated actually how to the tie obi about 10 minutes. And then, students tried kimono and obi to create their own styling.

First, they selected the kimono and obi for themselves. I asked them to wear by themselves to create their own images or theme.

Second, they made pairs and select kimono and obi for their partners. I asked them to stylize their partners to create the partners’ images using kimono and obi.
Students had never learned how to put on kimono and tie obi, so I sometimes supported them. They tried to make their own styling with the help of their friends. As you see on this picture, they did a really good job. Originality and imagination are important as a stylist. Maybe it is important for any kinds of jobs.

I asked them “What is your future dream?” and one of them said “I want to study politics”. I hope they will never give up their dream and hope, and make use of their senses, which were fostered by their many experience, towards their dreams.

Originally, we planned to make our kimono workshop at Japan Society, but to show students as many kimonos as possible, I proposed to make it at my studio. The organizer of this event at Japan Society agreed readily and five Japan Society staffs came to the studio with students.

I found one of the students wrote an article about the kimono workshop. She wrote
“For me it was difficult to walk in since the kimono was larger than me; I tried my best to not trip. It was also tight fitting, which made it hard to breath yet all of the class was in such awe of the beauty we did not want to take it off. All the patterns and fabrics were unique and all appealing to the eye on the kimonos and the obi completed the look. Today was a lucky one because not many other teens get the chance to try on kimonos by a famous designer.”
I am lucky to meet with ambitious girls. Thank you very much for coming to my studio!


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