Designer/ Artisan Keiko Tagai
We sincerely hopes for the sustainable development of the declining kimono industry and will contribute to the industry by creating new kimono styles.
古物商許可証 (Secondhand Dealer License Certificate) 第631312300035号
－ Our Story －
Q. How did you start creating hats using vintage kimonos?
A. Originally, I have been a tailor of mainly bespoke dresses for about 12 years.
I happened to see an article about the shrinking kimono market and lack of successors when I went to the library.
At first I was just looking it up out of curiosity, but then I learned that the kimono market has shrunk from its peak of 1.8 trillion yen in the 1980s to about 270 billion yen today, about one-sixth of its current size, and that a large number of kimonos are discarded every year.
I thought there might be something I could do to help, and as I researched more and more, I began to think that I wanted to somehow connect kimono producers, who wish people to enjoy their kimonos, with us, the consumers.
There are many reasons for the decline of the kimono industry.
For example, it is said that the 3K problem of kimono is "how to wear kimono, expensive, and lack of opportunity to wear kimono".
First, most of us Japanese do not know how to put on a kimono, and we go to a shop that specializes in dressing people in kimono to put on a kimono, so we cannot put on a kimono by ourselves.
Next, as for the price, in recent years, inexpensive mass-produced kimonos made of printed fabric and sewn with a sewing machine are also available, but kimonos made by traditional methods are all made by hand by specialized craftsmen who draw patterns with dyeing or gold leaf, and hand-sew.
Therefore, new kimonos are extremely expensive, ranging from several hundred thousand yen to several million yen, and not everyone can afford them.
Third, unlike in the past, most people in Japan now wear western clothes and rarely have the opportunity to wear a kimono.
There are many other problems, but the items in the KIMONO HAT collection were born from our thinking about what we can do to connect kimono producers and consumers, how we can incorporate kimono into our daily lives, and what we can do to help people in Japan and abroad enjoy kimonos.
* At last, this year, we are reborn the vintage kimonos into clothing. (Updated on 04,17,2023)
Q. Do you create the hats yourself?
A. Yes. I create hats by hand, from pattern making, cutting, blocking, and sewing.
At first, I had no knowledge or experience in hat making, so I planned to produce hats at a factory in Japan, but they refused to accept me because of the difficulty of production, etc.
I thought I had no choice but to make hats myself, so I taught myself for a year.
At first, many people said to me, "It is impossible to create hat out of a kimono," "Of course it's impossible to challenge the world," and so on.
But, I believe that nothing can start if I give up before I even try, and I believe that there is possibility of anything, so I devoted myself to making hats.
And now, we are receiving message of gratitude from customers in Japan and abroad, and we are delivering our products to customers all over the world.
* As we was quick to inform our followers, we have finally found a factory in Japan that is willing to cooperate with us, so from now on, depending on the item, we will offer both factory-made items and items made by me. (Updated on 07,07,2022)
Q. Why do you take Made in Japan seriously?
A. In the domestic apparel industry, while major enterprises and small and medium-sized brands are producing overseas, craftsmen with high skills and experience are losing their jobs due to the closure of domestic factories.
It is very sad and we believe that craftsmen's skills and experience are assets.
For this reason, Keiko Tagai has been manufacturing domestically for some time now, and all of our products are made in Japan.
We will do our best to make as many people in the world can enjoy the Japanese sense of beauty and traditional culture in their daily lives through our products made from kimono, the traditional costume of Japan.
－ PLOFILE －
Pattern and design production of women's clothing
Tailor (Bespoke women's clothing)
Tailor (Bespoke dresses)
Self-taught in hat making
－ MEDIA COVERAGE －
■ Russian state news agency 「Sputnik」- 2021/2/16
It was introduced in Russian media "Sputnik Japan". Keiko Tagai will continue to contribute to the kimono industry by sharing Japanese culture with the world and creating hats.
■「Tokyo Weekender」- 2020/11/19
It was introduced in Japan's oldest English information media for foreigners, "Tokyo Weekender".
It was introduced in the "SoraNews24" with the content that "Japanese fashion brand, Keiko Tagai turns beautiful old clothes into stylish hats."