Wait! You have kimono?!
Yep! We import vintage traditional Japanese clothing straight from Japan to the USA, just for you!
I thought I’d never be able to afford a kimono! How are your prices so low?
The whole point of our business is to provide kimono at reasonable prices so that anyone can have an affordable entry point into learning about this aspect of Japanese culture. It would be pointless for us to import kimono to the States if no one could afford them! To make this possible, we do business a little differently. Unlike our competitors, we actually go to Japan, at times up to three times a year, to do business directly with Japanese people in the kimono industry. We work with our Japanese sources to acquire our garments at reasonable prices, which allows us to price our garments so that they are affordable to you. Folks say doing business in Japan is a hard thing to do (and they’re right!), but after years of travel, research, and language & cultural study, we’ve done it and we’re proud of that!
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, or visit us in our showroom, we will be happy to help you try on whichever kimono you like!
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 with us! When you shop with us, we will teach you the traditional and modern ways you can wear kimono, walking you through the whole process. 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 to teach and share, because education and sharing is the foundation for cultural exchange!
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 (an honored guest), and do our best to be sensitive to everyone’s needs and wishes. 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 and authentic 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. Anyone who wants to learn is welcome to shop with us!
But I’m not Japanese! Isn’t it Cultural Appropriation / unethical / Orientalism / insulting to Japanese people if I touch / try on / upcycle / repurpose / wear kimono?
If you’re asking this question seriously, here’s our serious answer: NO!!
You’re more than welcome to read our official statement pertaining to Cultural Appropriation, which details our backgrounds, education, cultural exchange efforts, and the approval and support of the Japanese community (in both America and Japan) that we have received for our efforts.
But to save you the clicking around, here’s a summary of that statement: we and our suppliers know that our customers are doing nothing wrong in showing respect and enthusiasm for the country and culture from which kimono came. And quite frankly, our business simply wouldn’t exist if we did not have the understanding, approval and support of real Japanese people in Japan that have become our trusted suppliers and friends. In all our travels, the universal response to kimono at conventions is one of excitement, awe, appreciation for the art of kimono (kitsuke), and tremendous respect for the people and culture of Japan. Our customers know Japan is awesome, and very much want to experience as many aspects of Japanese culture as they can, precisely because they know how beautiful and important cultural exchange is.
That is why we exist. Sure, we’re available to sell you amazing pieces from Japan, and our business allows us to do things like pay our rent and keep our lights on. But because we’re educators, all our interactions with our customers go far, far beyond a simple financial 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, and help inspire that desire to learn and further love in others. 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?
We don’t have what many would consider the “traditional” Japanese body type, but we rock our kimono, and we can help you rock one too! 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. We are happy to show you different ways to make our pieces look fabulous on a wide variety of body types.
Do you insist people only try on pieces that match their gender appearance, age, or marital status?
While we are always happy to explain the traditional ways of wearing kimono (e.g. sleeve differences in men’s vs. women’s kimono; which pieces indicate marriage status; and seasonal motifs), 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. Whether wearing kimono in the “traditional” way or not, remember: there are many ways to kitsuke!
If I have a disability, can I still try on a kimono?
We absolutely believe that people have a right to learn and try on whatever they want, and this unequivocally includes folks with disabilities. One of our founders 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. The pieces we sell come straight from Japan, have been previously loved in Japan, and 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?
Most of our staff is mildly(?) OCD, and it shows as we review each piece for flaws as we prep them for our shows. When a flaw is found, we automatically discount the price commensurate to the condition and overall quality of the piece (and we’re pretty brutal when assessing condition!). So, your discount is already built into the price.
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, yukata, etc. for us. While multiples of a piece may exist, each piece is usually one-of-a-kind to our inventory. 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. But, we are always looking for serious buyers; so whether you are interested in the kimono to wear or display, we would be happy to show you photos, talk numbers, and/or arrange for you to see what we have to offer in-person. Simply contact us at [email protected], or message us on Facebook 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, we’re doing a happy dance, and you should too – it’ll make you feel better!) We currently have a very limited selection of what we offer at conventions for sale online. We’re planning on expanding it ASAP (stay tuned for our Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales!), so please check back for more cool things. If you’re looking for something specific, you can still reach out to us at [email protected], or message us on Facebook to let us know what you’re looking for, as we’re always willing to match awesome people with awesome garments!
I know a thing or two about kimono, and want more info on sizing to make sure my kimono fits the way I want it to. Do you have more information about that?
Please remember that you are the expert in your own body and your own look. There is more than one way to wear kimono, and we have seen (and tried) some amazing “non-traditional” styles produced by Japanese kimono fashion magazines, instagram personalities, and fashion brands. We provide the following information, taken from Japanese sources, if you would like to wear kimono the way most commonly deemed “traditional.” We have a run-down on sizing terminology and explanations in our “Information” section, entitled Kimono Sizing Information, which we encourage you to check out!
I’m interested in Kimono Remake / Upcycling! Do you sell cutters/scrap fabric?
Traditionally, when wafuku are unsuitable for wear, they are upcycled (/remade into new things), not thrown away. (That is 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. (And again – be excited for our upcoming Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sales! We have something pretty sweet in store for both wearable garments as well as our cutters for upcycling!)
Do you have a physical store I can visit?
Well, yes and no. We have a showroom attached to our warehouse, located in Schaumburg, Illinois. Given our travel schedule for conventions, we only see customers in our showroom by appointment. If you’re interested in coming in for a personal shopping day, or have a group event that you would like to host with your fellow kimono aficionados, crafters, quilters, designers, textile artists, etc., send us your schedule and desired dates to come in at, [email protected] or message us on Facebook. From there we can check our appointment book and schedule your visit!
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!