Kimono are beloved worldwide as a symbol of Japan’s traditional culture (Kim Kardashian’s aborted brand name doesn’t count). However, the sad reality in the modern-day present is that many of these kimono are worn once or twice a year at best, then shut away in storage.
That’s where Relier81 comes in. This upcycle fashion brand utilizes material from unused kimono and obi to create accessories that are widely used in today’s day and age like flats, sandals, and pouches. Their passion for sustainability and Japanese culture caught the eye of United Tokyo, a fashion brand that specializes in clothes and accessories made in Japan.
They’ve teamed up to produce 12 different kinds of “OBI square toe sandals” that are available for sale on United Tokyo’s online store. These statement pieces have two-layer insoles made with memory foam-like material so your feet stay comfy and trendy, but the bigger draw is that their straps are made from authentic obi (kimono sashes).
Of course, since these come from actual kimono obi, these shoes don’t exactly come cheap: 29,700 yen, to be exact. The obi part of the shoe is made with 100-percent silk, though, so you’re getting the good stuff!
▼ And did we mention all of these are made by hand?
United Tokyo warns that since these are made by hand using obi that are least 40 years old, there may be some imperfections in the fabric and pattern.
United Tokyo and Relier81 chose a fashionable square toe style of sandal specifically so that they could be worn comfortably and daily.
Since these are made by hand with a limited stock of each design, it could take some time for a design you like to be available. But if you’re as crazy about traditional Japanese culture, kimono, and eco-friendly fashion as we are, it will be well worth the wait.
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