About Kimonos

The story behind our men's kimono 'Family Crest'

Family crest banner

One of our most popular men's kimonos is 'Family Crest' (shown above), a striking geometric design that includes a number of intriguing heraldic-like emblems. These family crests have a centuries-old tradition in Japan, starting with the nobility in feudal times, but then adopted by samurai warriors and later by commoners, continuing in popular use right up to the present day.

Our 'Family Crest' kimono displays six different crests, which we explain below. But first, a few words about this Japanese tradition.

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Tags: japanese kimono | men's kimono | family crest | crest | symbol | design | tradition | samurai

How to care for a silk kimono

Crane Swirl Royal silk kimono
 

These tips apply to modern silk kimonos rather than vintage kimonos.

Ironing and crease removal:

• Iron with no steam, at a low temperature (silk, cool or delicate setting). Iron the garment inside out; to be safer, use a pressing cloth 

• Beware of steam irons: drops of water will stain the silk fabric

• Crease removal, bathroom steam method: place the kimono on a plastic hanger and suspend in the bathroom; run a hot shower for several minutes, turn off the shower, keep the door closed and allow the humidity to smooth out the creases

• Crease removal, garment steamer method: place the kimono on a hanger and use a mechanical garment steamer to go over the creases lightly; do not allow the steamer head to touch the silk; follow the manufacturer's instructions

Cleaning:

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Tags: japanese kimono | crane swirl silk kimono | silk kimono | dry clean | hand wash | iron | clean

Netsuke carvings: kimono accessories, miniature masterpieces

netsuke in kimono sash

Japanese men used to hang personal items such as money pouches and tobacco from their kimono sash by means of a silk cord. A small toggle attached to the top of the cord prevented it from slipping through the sash. These toggles - 'netsuke' - began life with a practical purpose, but were soon developed by craftsmen into miniature masterpieces and highly fashionable items.

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Tags: japanese kimono | netsuke | kimono accessories

How many miles of silk fibre in a Japanese kimono?

silk moth, silkworm and silk cocoons

Yes, how many miles of fibre in a silk kimono. But before we try to answer that question, a few words on the fascinating topic of how silk is made.

"With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown". An elegant Chinese proverb, though in practice with a few tons of mulberry leaves, a large number of silkworms and the right conditions, a kimono's worth of raw silk can be produced in a couple of months. Silk, the queen of fabrics, is admired for its beauty, lightness and strength, yet the story of how it is cultivated is even more remarkable.

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Tags: japanese kimono | silk kimono | silk | cocoon | silkworm

How to fold a kimono

geisha folding a kimono

It is not difficult to fold a kimono once a few simple steps have been learnt. We have included a step-by-step diagram below, followed by an excellent video, in which a Japanese lady demonstrates the technique slowly and clearly. You definitely do not need to understand what she says, but you will want to hear the very catchy Japanese soundtrack.

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Tags: how to fold kimono | Japanese kimono | traditional | video

What is a yukata?

womens yukata and a mans yukata

A yukata is the most informal type of kimono. Made from light-weight unlined cotton and easier to wear than traditional kimonos, the yukata is a popular casual garment for men and women during Japan's hot, humid summers; it is commonly seen at festivals and hot spring resorts (yukata literally means bathing clothes) but increasingly at other public events as young women in particular view them as a stylish option. Traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) and hot spring resorts also provide yukata for their guests as loungewear.

The following images show the basic differences between a formal kimono and a yukata.

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Tags: yukata | formal kimono | obi | ryokan | tradition | festival | video

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