[From May Issue 2013]
Many people are interested in kimono, but feel they are expensive and difficult to take care of. Recently, more and more shops sell reasonably priced, easy-to-wear kimono. They appeal to a variety of different age groups.
“Nadeshiko Asakuka EKIMISE,” a shop operated by Yamato Co., Ltd. is popular among women in their 20s and 30s. PR representative, MIYOSHI Tomoko, says, “The interiors of our shops are intentionally bright and staff are around the same age as our customers. The range of kimono we sell includes many inexpensive items made of polyester, as well as silk kimono that cost less than 50,000 yen.” Customers who are after inexpensive “obijime” (decorative string used to hold a kimono sash in place), or “tabi” (traditional Japanese socks) also visit the shop.
Their kimono and accessories appeal to young women because, just as with western clothes, the design of the products displayed is cute. “We organize events, such as the first visit to the temple in the New Year, for customers who have bought a kimono at our store, so they will have more opportunities to wear kimono,” says Miyoshi.
At “Nagamochiya,” where they sell recycled kimono, customers are mainly women in their 40s to 60s. The plus side of buying recycled kimono is that, unlike new items, you have a chance to get your hands on a rare kimono.
Usually, a kimono is tailor made after the customer buys the cloth. Since recycled kimono is already tailored, the benefit is that you do not need to pay to have it sewn for you and you can wear it as soon as you have bought it.
“The recycled kimono that sells the best is priced from 20,000 to 50,000 yen. The majority of customers are people who wear kimono for a discipline like tea ceremony, and those who simply love kimono. The majority of our customers wanted inexpensive kimono for a hobby or for practicing a discipline, but these days there is more demand from people who are searching for rare items,” says IDA Mayumi, PR representative for Shinso Ohashi, Co., Ltd., which operates Nagamochiya.
It’s not only kimono that’s become popular, now more and more people are casually wearing yukata (kimono for summer). Yukata, not only made of cotton, or linen, but also polyester which is cool and is dries quickly, is now bought by many people and worn outside during summer.
UENO Satoko, who manages a community for women who like kimono and yukata says, “Just as with western clothes, when you begin to wear a kimono, you feel that you’d like more than just one item, so we’re glad that it’s possible to get hold of cheap kimono. Because it’s difficult to store some kimono without it getting damaged, it is a big help to us that we now find more items that are made of easy care fabrics.” The number of people who casually enjoy wearing kimono may continue to increase.
Text: TSUCHIYA Emi