Draping the Layers of the Kimono



A Kimono is synonymous with Japanese culture. Not only is it historically significant, aesthetically pleasing and symbolizes the country’s rich cultural heritage. It stands proof to clothing that is more than meets the eye. Similar to the Indian Saree, Kimonos are not cut to fit the shape of the wearer, but are folded, draped and held in place with an Obi, a stiff, long fabric stash. Dissecting the term kimono, ki means ‘wear’ and mono means ‘thing’. Aside from their unique aesthetic, Kimonos represent the value of symbolism combining the  aspects of style, motif, color and material bringing out the individual identity of the wearer. Style represents gender, marital status and event. Motif represents patterns, designs and symbols that indicate the wearer’s status, personality traits and virtues. Color embodies the spirit of the plant it has been extracted from.

The fabric was first worn during the Heian era (794 -1185) consisting of multiple layers of cloth, meant to suit every body type. Then it evolved into Kosode (small sleeves) in the Edo era, with people of different social status wearing it as per their customization to showcase their individuality. Later in the Meiji era the Kosode evolved into the modern day Kimono. The fabric basked in immense popularity during the Edo era thanks to the trendsetters such as the Geishas and Kabuki actors. Even when the fifth shogun of the Tokugawa period forbid people from wearing expensive and showy fabric, people rebelled back by donning pieces with designs that were otherwise unnoticeable if not observed closely.

Restitching from the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The estimated size of the kimono retail market in 2022 is 221 billion yen, up 104.7 percent from the year before, according to Yano Research Institute.

The retail market for kimonos is not anticipated to experience a decrease as severe as that experienced in 2020, it is likely that the degree of recovery will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the new coronavirus outbreak. Although the current market size is not near to the level of the market in 2019, it will get closer during the following years.

Most of the kimono industry's sales promotion efforts have been conducted on paper, such as sending customers direct mail (DM), but with the implementation of the Amended Act on the Protection of Personal Information in April 2022, which will further protect individual rights, such paper-based promotion efforts may be more or less constrained.

Additionally, the kimono business is anticipated to transition from paper-based media to social networking sites and other Internet-based sales promotions as a result of the trend toward the introduction of IT, and the shift toward digitalization (electronization) is anticipated to continue. In these conditions, it shows how crucial it is for businesses to adapt quickly to changes brought on by the digitalization of their industry, and it is feasible that they may differentiate themselves.

A Long Piece of Fabric

Eight rectangular strips, also known as tanmono, are cut from a single bolt of fabric to make up each kimono. The standard-sized bolt is 38 centimeters by 12.5 meters in length. Any extra length is hemmed rather than cut off when a kimono is created.

Styles Differ According to the Wearer

Kimonos can be found in a variety of styles depending on the wearer's age and gender. Men, for instance, typically wear kimonos with a jacket and hakama, which are wide-legged pants, with subtle colours and patterns. As for women, young and unmarried women frequently don furisode—kimonos with long, flowy sleeves and vivid designs—for formal occasions like the Coming of Age ceremony. Married women frequently don tomosode—kimonos with short sleeves, more subdued patterns, and the family crest—for formal events. However, every women, irrespective of their age, are permitted to wear a houmongi for social gatherings.

A Perfect Generational Inheritance Gift

Kimonos are known to last even three generations, if maintained properly. They make the ideal present to pass down from mother to daughter or father to son since they are frequently embellished with the family crest.

Kimono experts can restore even the oldest kimono to preserve a piece of family history, by unstitching, washing, stretching, restitching, and restoring the colors. Besides, there are still several ways to upcycle a kimono even past its prime. For instance, an obi can be framed as art or used as a wonderful table runner.


Intrinsic Dyeing Technique

Yuzen, coloured fabrics produced mostly in the Kyoto Prefecture, are renowned for they depict nature, animals, and commonplace items in vivid colors and beautiful designs. Japanese kimonos frequently include these exquisite materials that have been handpainted. They use a complex method of painting dye directly into a cloth, and they have incredibly fine lines and eye-catching color gradients.

Becoming One with the Art

Kimonos are works of art that adapt to the changing of the seasons. Kimonos are frequently lined and fashioned of heavier materials, such silk, during the colder months. They have themes like the maple leaves of the fall or the late-winter and early-spring plum and cherry blossoms. On the other side, lighter kimonos made of cotton, linen, and silk-gauze are worn during the warmer months. These kimonos may have dragonflies, irises, and summertime bamboo leaves in addition to other seasonal flowers.

Go Crazy with Accessories

You can put on zori sandals or wooden geta clogs that display tabi or split-toe socks with kimonos. The obi, however, is the focal point of any kimono ensemble. It can be as straightforward or ornate as the kimono. A kimono's appearance can also vary depending on how the obi is tied in the rear. If you have a musubi or knot, it may be possible to tell if you are single and available for dating or married and off-limits. Young single ladies frequently wear sophisticated knots, married women typically wear simple knots, while maiko or apprentice geisha are renowned to wear lovely, trailing obi.


The price of a kimono ranges from an average of 4,000 yen (about $40) to infinity! A few million yen can be spent on some components.

The price is determined by the cloth and the particular craftsman. Although polyester and other materials that can be washed in a washing machine are becoming more and more fashionable, most kimonos are still made of silk, linen, cotton, or wool.

 Approximate cost of kimono by material

  • Wool - about 20,000-30,000 yen (150-200 USD).
  • Silk - 30,000-80,000 yen (300-800 USD). 
  • Cotton kimono - 2,000-4,000  yen (20-40 USD)

Kimonos will forever remain ingrained into Japanese culture. They have dominated international runways all over the world for their adaptability; you can make them as simple and subtle as you desire or as extravagant and daring as you dare.

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