What you generally associate “sustainable clothing” with would probably be something with earth tones, natural color, and minimalism. However, there’s another option for sustainable dressing that you would never expect - vintage Japanese kimono.
In Japan, it’s not uncommon to find very old kimonos in pretty good condition. Instead of being thrown away after several years of usage, kimonos generally cross from one generation to the next. Therefore, kimonos are regarded as a very sustainable garment. Here, I will describe several reasons why this has been possible.
Kimono's one-size-fits-all concept
Kimonos are not designed to fit a particular body shape, but designed to be worn in a way that can fit everyone. For instance, you can pull & tuck the kimono around the waist to adjust the length according to your height. You can also wrap it to fit your torso. This one-size-fits-all concept makes kimonos timeless enough to be worn over and over, even when you grow up, gain weight, or lose weight.
Simple structure of Kimonos
Unlike Western clothes, a kimono is simple enough to be composed of eight rectangular strips, sewn together only in straight lines. Thus, they are pretty easy to lay down or take apart. You can even change the color or change the length of a kimono. Furthermore, kimonos can be altered according to the age of a person or their current mood. Even if a kimono fades or soils, it’s still a unique and practical way of using clothing.
Natural materials of Kimonos
Most vintage kimonos are made of 100% natural silk. Silk is excellent for moisture retention, hygroscopicity, and breathability. The touch is very smooth, soft, and light in weight. It is, however, weak against heat, friction, and chemicals such as the ones found in laundry detergent. As a result, the Japanese treat them very carefully, instead of cleaning them frequently. In a formal way, you have to put an underwear called Nagajuban, under your kimono. A Nagajuban is a simple robe of cotton with the shape same as kimono that’s used to reduce kimono cleaning problems. Also, Kimonos are stored in drawers made of Paulownia, which are said to keep the best quality for silk garments.
Now you can see how sustainable Kimonos have been over time. We deal with various vintage-upcycled items that follow such a long line of Kimonos. We hope you take a look at our collection, hopefully to be the next successor to sustain the culture of this beautiful garment.