The Honorary Garment
The handwoven kimono: ancient wisdom for a smarter future
Our interpretation of the Japanese kimono explores how tradition and innovation, ethics and aesthetics, and past and future intersect, as we revisit this timeless symbol of luxury and sophistication in true Thread Tales’ style.
Thread Tales was born from two of our founder’s deepest passions, travel and ethical textiles. These elements shape every aspect of our work, offering a constant stream of inspiration, providing a framework that guides each of our business choices, and defining the ethos behind our practices. Our honorary garment, the handwoven kimono, is an ode to both.
AESTHETIC PRINCIPLES FROM JAPAN
The vision behind this piece finds its roots in the land of the rising sun, Japan. A land of contrasts, where ancestral wisdom and dizzyingly fast innovation seems to coexist in uncommon harmony. A culture that sees looking back as the way to move forward, and that believes that heirlooms from the past hold the key to the future.
Function as the sine qua non of Beauty
For the creation of this piece we drew on traditional Japanese aesthetics and its exquisitely practical vision of beauty. For the Japanese, today as much as yesterday, the aesthetic value of an object is intrinsically connected to the essence of the object itself, with the function it fulfils. Beauty is then a transaction that involves three elements: the object, the person making use of it, and the action performed through the synergy between these two players. Beautiful and useful inevitably belong together.
This vision underpins the design process of our handwoven kimono. The practical and ethical connotations of the Japanese sense of aesthetics take the shape of a garment designed to work hard for different occasions, outfits, times of day and moods. Functional and versatile, the beauty of our kimono is connected to its purpose: to be worn, again and again.
Kire: the Japanese version of zero-waste
A cardinal concept in Japanese aesthetics is kire. The most literal translation of kire is ‘cut’ or ‘sever’, but can be understood as ‘beautifying through the mindful exclusion of the superfluous’. The traditional Japanese costume is an example of how this mindset is turned into practice.
Originally made of sumptuous materials, Kimonos were passed down and cherished as family treasures. To be worn across generations, the garments needed to be adjusted to the height and physique of the different wearers. The textiles, often made of hand-spun fibres and precious materials, were expensive. To avoid frivolous wastage, the excess material was ‘cut’ by folding it and hiding it inside a belt, the obi.
Kimono + Hand-weaving = zero waste
The traditional design of this piece, thanks to its straight hems, minimal arm shaping, and rectangular panels, makes the kimono the ultimate zero waste garment. We have adapted these principles to produce our Thread Tales version. By carefully planning the construction and hand-weaving each panel of fabric to size, we’ve minimised both energy consumption and material waste. The result is an ethically produced piece with clean cut and simple lines and a timeless, polished look.
THE FINAL PIECE; PRESENTING OUR HANDWOVEN KIMONO
We’ve enlarged a traditional design staple, the herringbone pattern, to showcase the beauty of our unique yarn composition, a blend of certified Cashmere, Yak and Silk. The larger pattern celebrates the individual threads and creates an irresistibly bold note.
The result is distinctive- a ‘folk’ flavour meets a Japanese-inspired puristic design. In a choice of warm pink or cooler blue shades, this gorgeously tactile piece works perfectly as a warm, characteristically British, layering piece. Minimalistic lines find new vibrance through the richly textured fabric to create looks that can take you from bon-ton to boho.