Photo: PR Times

New project turns kimonos from 1950s and ’60s into high-fashion dresses

By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

As beautiful as expensive, fancy kimono are, you may only get a handful of opportunities to wear one. They tend to be associated with special holidays like the first shrine visit of the New Year, graduation, or special events. So the sad fact is that unless your kimono is specifically tailored to be for everyday wear, it may only get worn a few times before going into storage and never seeing the light of day again.

Kyoto-based company Kien is here to rescue those old kimonos from the store cupboard and make them shine in a modern way. Specifically, Kien upcycles tomesode kimono, ones worn by married women for especially formal situations that typically sport an intricate pattern along the bottom of its skirt. Kien is using a number of tomesode kimonos from the 1950s and 1960s Showa era to create stunning, stylish dresses that draw the eye and flatter the figure.

▼ This design, the Plume, emphasizes the kimono-sleeve cut and sports long sleeves of its own.


▼ Meanwhile, the Cache-coeur (overlapping sections tied with a wrap) pays homage to the wrapped-in-front aspect of original kimonos.


For all that kimono are associated with traditional Japanese beauty, it seems a shame not to sport them more often. By rebirthing old kimonos as dresses, you can take that classic, time-honored aesthetic and wear it to all kinds of parties, dinners, and slightly less formal events. The various cuts each make use of the gorgeous patterned fabric in myriad ways. In addition to two different styles of “one-piece” (dress) cut, options include a drape-neck cut, a raglan-sleeve cut, halter-neck, cache-coeur, plume, cocoon, and even a cut so that you can wear the fabric as a haori jacket.

▼ Each of the one-piece cut dresses look striking and professional.


▼ The cocoon disguises the arms and shoulders to create a more uniform, flowing silhouette.


The kimono dresses are made to order, so they still fetch a hefty price, from 66,000 yen to 104,500 yen.  There are plenty of amazing ways to re-use kimono fabrics, so we’ll be keeping our eye on what else Kien sews up for us in the future!

Source: Kien via PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Does a denim kimono look or feel good? Our kimono neophyte reporter finds out【Photos】

-- Authentic kimono fashions await you in Animal Crossing from Kyoto furisode tailor Chiso【Pics】

-- Japanese company creates stunning line of caps made from real kimono fabrics

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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7 ( +9 / -2 )

You should check out Tokyo Kaleidoscope! Her pieces are amazing!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Very nice!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Kimono are probably the most beautiful form of dress on the planet, they can turn any woman into a walking piece of art. These dresses too are something special.

2 ( +7 / -5 )


4 ( +6 / -2 )

You better put down the bottle SC, a little bit early in the day yet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The dresses look fantastic, but whoever did the lighting of this photoshoot needs to be pulled aside and given a little talking to......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am not seeing Kimono in those dresses.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I am not seeing Kimono in those dresses.

What are you seeing? XXX?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I went to the KIEN website where they describe the "uprecycle Kimono project" and they state that they state "We mainly select formal black KIMONO called “TOMESODE” produced in 1970-1990 in good condition with beautiful patterns. We believe, “TOMESODE” looks the most beautiful when remodeled into a dress." so not really from the 1950's as the article states.

I sort of have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I appreciate what KEIN is doing, they are in a sense making another type of kimono and I really appreciate that they don't classify it as a kimono but instead a dress that was made from fabrics and patterns used to make kimono's.

The part where I am conflicted with, sad really, was reading on the KEIN website where they also deconstruct kimono's to produce these dresses; I get it -- what good is a kimono that is never worn or seen? It's just a bit sad but at least they are not being disposed of completely and they are being repurposed and given new life.

Of course the article does not mention the cost of these kimono dresses. They're still very pricey, however, I can see these (especially the black versions) being worn (rented?) more often as a formal dress in and outside of Japan.

Given cost and personal philosophies aside, I really do love the look of their designs and I agree with KEIN in using the Tomesode. It has an elegance to it which is what a traditional kimono conveys amongst other things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BTW, KEIN also donates 10% of their sales to the preservation of the kimono culture...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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