Real Kimonos

Kimonos have been very much in fashion in the last few year although they have strayed from the traditional Japanese garment look, the styling has been faithfully to the meaning of the word. “Ki” is from the verb to wear while a “mono” is a thing, a thing to wear. Some renditions have been pretty tacky especially when trimmed with ludicrous fringing.

A traditional Kimono is a Simple T shaped long garment with long deep sleeves that is wrapped around the body and secured around the waist with a sash tied at the back called an “obi”. The length of the sleeve denotes whether the wearer is married, young unmarried women have sleeves near trailing on the ground.

These days they are mostly worn on special occasions by Japanese women with the traditional elevated sandal with split toed socks. Japanese men will occasionally wear them for weddings etc unless they are Sumo wrestlers who are obliged to wear the garment when out in public. A true Japanese kimono is highly valued and the more complex garments in silk can involve both woven and printed ornate decoration.

When visiting japan you may see parties of ladies dressed up in a rather cheaper looking garment but these are more often than not visiting Koreans who like to dress up when visiting Japan. Rather like those children who put on Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears when in Disneyland.

Viv Darling was looking for something special to wear for her brother’s wedding a dozen years ago. She looked around and was very uninspired by the offer on the high street and started to wonder whether she could find something a bit more adventurous and began investigating kimonos on the web. Eventually, after much research, she bought one on Ebay and was not only bowled over by the garment but the fascinating traditions and cultural history she had discovered in this search.

It is fair to say that Viv is quite the expert in this field. She has travelled to Japan and visited Kyoto the ancient capital and centre of silk weaving. Here she linked up with a Japanese lady who has a permit to sell and export secondhand kimonos. Viv sells these are various locations around the Southwest and can be contacted though her facebook site;

Last summer I stumbled across these wonderful ladies attending a wedding in Bath and the view from behind was as stunning as that from the front.

Kawaii Fashion

Sophie Wade - Design and Colour

Sophie Wade –

We love colour here at the Print Affair, and Kawaii fashion really caught our attention. Originating in Japan, this imaginative and eccentric fashion trend has enchanted a generation.

The term ‘Kawaii’ means cute/adorable/loveable. It is an ever evolving style and has many different sub styles such as ‘Lolita’ and ‘Decora’ however the whole style is overtly colourful, cute and over the top.

“Harajuku was the center of all these different kinds of cute. The district was destroyed during the firebombing of Tokyo during World War II. After the war, it was an American housing quarter called Washington Heights. In 1977, the district became a hokoten, pedestrian paradise. The absence of cars made the place a popular hang out for teens to see and be seen. Street fashion quickly developed.  Harajuku became a blend of cosplay, street fashion and gothic fashion. Kawaii laced through all of it” (Manami & Johnson, Kawaii!: Japan’s Culture of Cute, 2013)

Fresh Fruits Magazine, Shoichi Aoki

Harajuku is now, more than ever, the place to get photographed in Japan and people grace the streets in the most elaborate outfits. The collision of colour, print and aesthetics take over the square mile of the city in abundance.


Style by deni

Prints include familiar cartoons such as My Little Pony and Hello Kitty and many outfits are handmade adding to the uniqueness of their style. Rainbows, hearts, stars – cute and colourful motifs cover fabric and accessories.

Kawaii fashion is becoming a global phenomenon and in 2014 it was a term entered into the Collins English Dictionary: “Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasises the quality of cuteness, using bright colours and characters with a childlike appearance.”