Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Vintage obi belts from old kimonos now have a second life. Long passionate about Japanese textiles, my friend Michelle Lai amassed an impressive collection of vintage kimono obi sashes. Experimental sewing of obis led Michelle to create MISCHA, a stunning line of evening clutches. Obi belts, the sashes that go with kimonos, come in different […]

From the streets of Tokyo, you can see Japanese have a great eye for mixing and matching improbable old and new items of clothing. Take, for example, the shop assistant above, whom I photographed at the vintage shop Haight & Ashbury. Oyo mixes an ornate 1950s hat, Charleston pearls and a modern marinière-style t-shirt. The […]

For all its simple style, the kimono has lost status in Japan as daily apparel. Japanese women talk about kimonos with a sense of ritual and preciousness. How can something almost sacred return to daily life? I met a young Tokyo mother at the aquarium in Shinagawa taking her two daughters and a friend. In […]

I recommend anyone serious about patterns to explore the richness of Chiyogami paper (江戸千代紙). Chiyogami, literally “thousand generation paper”, is a woodblock-printed paper that Japanese use to write special letters, poems, wrap gifts, cover books and even make paper dolls or small boxes. Starting in Kyoto’s imperial court, the popularity of Chiyogami spread to Tokyo […]

Tenugui Designs


I couldn’t resist buying beautifully designed Tenugui (手拭い) on my last trip to Tokyo. A Tenugui is a thin Japanese piece of cotton fabric, usually measuring 35 by 90 centimeters, plainly woven and almost always printed with some pattern. A Tenugui serves as many purposes as you can imagine. Some use it as a washcloth, […]


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