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The History of Kimonos

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With our newest line of printed kimonos just hitting our boutique, we are excited to jump into the history of kimonos and share the interesting past and unique story of these chic wardrobe pieces that have become a close staple in today's fashion.

We'll start at the very beginning, with the origin of kimonos. Many know that these beautiful pieces originated in Japan, being first created over a thousands years ago. In fact the word "kimono" literally translates to “the thing worn”. However, did you know the inspiration behind kimonos comes from China? The Han Chinese clothing consisted of silk robes and these were what directly influenced the kimonos of Japan. These particular garments were worn during the Qing Dynasty in the mid 1600s. However, as the country's rulers changed, so did the country's dressings, causing the details of the kimono to continuously change slightly. This being said, the original shape and style of the kimono always remained untouched and true to it's origin.


Those who primarily would wear kimonos were the samurai, which were the ruling military class in Japan. But within time and because of the kimono's luxe and beautiful make, the garment became very popular amongst the artisan and upper class. They soon became a status symbol. The kimono developed into a highly expressive means of personal display and an important indicator of a person's rising affluence and aesthetic sensibility.

Let's talk about the basic structure and key pattern of a kimono. Each traditional kimono consisted of four strips of cloth, with the smaller and thiner strips forming the neckline and front panel. It was also traditional that a kimono be made of satin weaves or silk and the amount of pieces differed from a men's kimono and women's kimono. Men's traditional kimonos were composed of no more than five pieces, while the women’s kimono consisted of no less than twelve pieces. However, it was the colors and patterns that most prominently separated the men's and women's kimonos.

Men’s kimonos that were casual and commonly neutral and only sometimes consisted of a subtle matte pattern. The formal kimonos of men were usually plain and black. Women's kimonos have always been styled with more complexity and intricacy. In fact, throughout the history of kimonos, because of their complexity it usually required several women to assist in a Japanese women putting on her kimono. There are even certified kimono dressers.

However, as time passed so did the commonality and accessibility of kimonos. This was greatly do to their practical and comfortable structure. The kimono was a comfortable garment for people to wear who sit on a straw mat which was common in Japanese homes, as tea and meals were eaten together by sitting on the ground. So even as some style details changed over time like the length of the kimono or specific sash it was tied with or even the the amount of layers depending on the climate, the basic structure of the kimono remained fairly unchanged because it was what made the garment such a versatile piece.

So how did these once very traditional Asian garments turn into a more widely styled fashion piece across the world? Toward the end of the 19th century, the Western culture began to influence Japanese life and popular clothing options began to more closely resemble European and American fashion. However, just as the Japanese were influenced by Western fashion, so had Western cultural begun to incorporate the traditional aspects of Japanese art, culture and style-which included the kimono.

Today, top designers and fashion houses like Opening Ceremony and Alice and Olivia have given kimonos a place in every woman's closet, by embracing their versatility and unique details and creating more modern designs that fit any women's personal style. This was a leading factor in artTECA's reason to add kimonos to it's wearable art collection.The History of KimonosEach one of the four kimonos in the artTECA collection have been curated and designed with every woman in mind. Regardless of lifestyle, these casual and chic kimonos were made to fit into every woman's life and embrace and effortless sense of style.


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