OMG, you have kimono?!
Yep! We’ve imported vintage traditional Japanese clothing straight from Japan, just for you. At reasonable prices. You may thank us anytime. (^_~)
I thought I’d never be able to afford a kimono! How are your prices so low?
We do business directly in Japan. Folks say that is a hard thing to do, and they’re right, but we’ve done it and we’re proud of that. (It’s taken years of visits, research, and Japanese language skills to get where we are today.) We work with our sources to get our garments at reasonable prices, which we then pass directly on to you. We may be proud, but we’re not overpriced.
If I visit you at a convention, can I try one on?
Absolutely! We’re not running a museum, here. Each piece has lived life in Japan and is now meant to live life in America–hopefully, with you. When you visit our booth at a convention, we will be happy to help you try on whatever kimono you wish.
But I don’t know how to wear kimono!
Don’t worry, we didn’t either, at first. Everyone starts someplace, and we’d love for you to start here. We walk you through the process, and we can tell you tips and tricks to wear Japanese clothing (including tying obi!) with ease. We have made up a few tutorials and we are working on a YouTube channel with step-by-step instructions to make life even easier. We’re happy to share, because sharing is caring.
What kind of experience can I expect when trying on kimono at your booth?
We believe that everyone who visits our booth or does business with us in any way is treated as okyaku-sama, or an honored guest. We do our best to be sensitive to everyone’s needs and wishes because we’re cool like that. Whether you’re completely new to Japanese clothing or a seasoned vet, we know what a unique and amazing experience it is for people to engage in this little slice of Japanese culture, and we want to make that as awesome an experience as possible.
To put it more bluntly, we believe discrimination against anyone for their age, culture, disability/ies, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, marital status, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, size, or socioeconomic status is not cool, and we’re not down with that.
But I’m not Japanese! Isn’t it cultural appropriation/unethical/Orientalism/insulting to Japanese people if I try on/touch/exist within the same square mile as a kimono?
If you’re asking this question seriously, here’s our serious answer: NO!! We crafted a more tongue-in-cheek response to anyone feeling confrontational, so feel free to check that out, but here’s a little info that goes deeper.
One of our founders received her graduate degree in art education from a very prestigious art school based on the idea that art education about Japan (or really, any country) should seek to involve everyone, and not relegate people into segregated boxes based on ethnicitiy. Her project was all about the influence of Japanese art on the French Impressionists and she received the support of many people in the Japanese expat and Japanese-American community in the Midwest, as well as a representative of the Japanese government. It was during her research that she hit upon the idea to bring kimono to the USA. When she made contacts in Japan, nowhere was she told that she was appropriating Japanese culture, or that a white Western chick couldn’t wear kimono. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The Japanese people she met were thrilled that people outside Japan were not only happy but eager to celebrate the beauty and tradition that are Japanese traditional garments.
We think it’s frankly insulting to our customers to imply that they are doing anything other than showing respect for the country and culture from which kimono came. In all our travels, the universal response to seeing kimono at conventions is one of excitement, awe, appreciation for the art of kimono, and tremendous respect for the people and culture of Japan. Our customers know Japan is awesome, and very much want to experience as much of Japanese culture as they can, precisely because they know how beautiful and important it is.
That is why we exist. Sure, we’re available to sell you amazing pieces from Japan. But because we’re educators, all our interactions with our customers go far, far beyond a simple transaction. We have been in love with Japan since we were knee-high to a (very small) grasshopper, and we want to share what we know and love. We hope that our customers, whether they are seasoned experts in wearing kimono or first-timers, learn something about Japan with every visit to our booth.
Aren’t I too short/tall/big/small to wear kimono? What sizes do kimono come in?
Remember that from the Heian period (between the years 794 and 1185) onward, Japanese clothing was purposely designed to be untailored. This made it easier to fold and store and made it possible for it to be passed down through families. So there aren’t really sizes, at least not as Westerners are accustomed to them. At any rate, we know ways to make our pieces work on a wide variety of body types. We don’t have the “traditional” Japanese body types, ourselves, but we rock our kimono, and we can help you rock one too.
Do you insist people only try on pieces that match their gender appearance, age, or marital status? While we are willing and able to explain the traditional ways of wearing kimono (e.g. sleeve differences in men’s vs. women’s kimono; furisode are traditionally worn by unmarried women), we firmly believe that our customers are the experts in their own gender identity, sexual orientation, relationships, and bodies. Everyone is welcome to try on whatever they want, and we do our best to make everyone look fantastic.
If I have a disability, can I still try on a kimono?
We absolutely believe that people have a right to be in our booth and try on whatever they want, and this unequivocally includes folks with disabilities. One of us used a wheelchair for quite some time, so while we’re not experts in all forms of disability, we’re thrilled to serve folks with disabilities and ensure they get the same awesome experience as folks without disabilities. Please let us know if you have special needs and we will do everything in our power to accommodate you.
This piece has a stain/flaw! What gives?
Keep calm and remember: they’re vintage. These pieces have walked the streets of Japan. They’ve breathed its temples, seen its marketplaces, and yes, have acquired some of its grit. While many of our pieces are pristine, you may occasionally find that some of our pieces may have more grit than others. Some of our pieces are pre-WWII, and hey, you’d probably show some wear and tear after 70 years or so, too.
. . . So, can I get a discount?
One of us is mildly(?) OCD, and reviews each piece for flaws as she preps them for shows. When a flaw is found, we automatically discount the price. So, your discount is already built in to the price, and is probably lower than what you’d ask for, anyway, because she’s both OCD AND brutally honest.
I love this design in this kimono/haori coat/obi etc.! Do you have more just like this one?
We hate to give you the hard sell, but the hard reality is we don’t have a factory somewhere mass-producing kimono. Each piece is essentially one-of-a-kind to this country (possibly to Japan, too), and so if you see something you like, you may want to grab it before someone else falls in love with it, too.
I’m getting married/have a special event coming up/am interested in high-end pieces for display. Do you sell uchikake/wedding kimono/formal pieces?
Yes! We have some items in these categories that are just too valuable (and heavy!) to truck around to conventions. We are always looking for serious buyers, whether you are interested in the kimono to wear or display, and will be happy to show you photos, talk numbers, and/or arrange for you to try on a few things. Simply contact us at TangerineMt@gmail.com to let us know what you’re looking for and we can work it out!
Do you have an e-commerce site where I can order pieces online?
We do now! Everyone do a happy dance! (No, seriously, do a happy dance, it’ll make you feel better.) We currently have a limited selection of what we offer at conventions for sale online. We’re planning on expanding it ASAP, too, so please check back for more cool things, or follow us on Twitter (@tangerinekimono). If you’re looking for something specific, you can still email us at TangerineMt@gmail.com, as we’re always willing to match awesome people with awesome garments!
Do you sell cutters/scrap fabric?
Traditionally, when wafuku are unsuitable for wear, they are upcycled, not thrown away, hence why there are so many spiffy Japanese crafts that center on small pieces of upcycled fabric. In that spirit, we’d love to help supply you with what you need and we can do that now with our shiny new online store! We’re offering kimono fabric bags of crafting in 1-, 3-, and 5-pound increments, and obi fabric bags of crafting in 3- and 5-pound increments. Check out the online store tab above to order and get down with your creative self.
Do you have a physical store I can visit?
Not currently, but we’ll keep you posted if that changes. You can always send us happy thoughts from afar, though!
What conventions are you going to be at?
Please check out our “Convention Schedule” tab at the top of the page to find out where we’ll be and when!
I know a thing or two about wearing kimono and love your business. Do you ever need volunteers to help at conventions?
We are currently working on assembling a network of volunteers/superheroes to help us out at shows/take over the world throughout the year. If you love kimono and have an interest in helping out, please click on the button below to fill out our Volunteer Query form. Then, as opportunities arise, we will let you know if we need help with shows coming up near you!