Kimono in the news…
‘A Modern Tradition’
By its very definition, the kimono evokes ideas of tradition. Steeped in history and culture, this type of garment has been worn by men, women and children in Japan since roughly the eighth century. But since the late 19th to early 20th century, the popularity of kimonos as everyday wear has been steadily declining, to be replaced by Western clothing. These days, as any Tokyoite would know, it is rare to see Japanese dressed in kimonos except on very special occasions, and even then many still choose an evening gown or tuxedo. Kimonos have been largely relegated to storage, only to be taken out and utilized once in a great while.
But there is one man who is out to change this. Jotaro Saito is Japan’s most prominent modern kimono designer, and he is making waves throughout this very traditional industry. The third generation in a family of kimono designers, Saito was literally born into Kyoto’s textile and garment world. “I always thought I would end up doing this,” he says. “I never thought I had to do it for the sake of my parents, but I just came into it naturally.”
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