Derived from the words ki (“wear”) and mono (“thing”), the kimono is a traditional Japanese garment.
Kimonos come in a range of styles and patterns. They are typically hand-sewn into a “T” shape
from 4 single pieces of fabric called tans and tied with an obi, or belt.
In addition to their unique aesthetic, kimonos are valued for their symbolism;
style, motif, color, and material work together to reveal the individual identity of the wearer.
Traditional kimonos come in a variety of styles. The type of style worn is dictated by a range of specific criteria,
including gender, marital status, and event.
Patterns, symbols, and other designs also help communicate the wearer’s status, personality traits, and virtues.
Popular motifs include nature-inspired elements, like leaves, blossoms, and birds (namely, cranes).
On top of their imagery, kimonos’ colors also hold symbolic significance.
Additionally, the pigments used to achieve certain colors are also representative.
“Dyes are seen to embody the spirit of the plants from which they are extracted,”
the Victoria & Albert Museum explains,
“Any medicinal property is also believed to be transferred to the coloured cloth.
Blue, for example, derives from indigo (ai), which is used to treat bites and stings,
so wearing blue fabric is thought to serve as a repellent to snakes and insects.”
Kimonos are made from various handmade and hand-decorated fabrics. Traditionally, these include linen, silk, and hemp.
Today, materials like rayon, cotton, and polyester are often used.
Unsurprisingly, however, the traditional, non-synthetic fabrics are favored.
THE JAPANESE FABRICS