This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.495.
We wrote about used kimono business in Edo period in our last newsletter.
This is to show how the life of new kimono in old time. Everyone was wearing kimono in Japan:
New kimono were mde all by hand-so only wealthy people could afford them.
Then, the used kimono went to ordinary people as second hand kimono. That means the sublime and very expensive kimono made by hands were supported by ordinary people also.
Ordinary people could not buy `new' kimono but indirectly, they were supporting weavers, dyers and tailors after all. Shikkaiyasan, this is a unique occupation-they do everything related to kimono. They repair, redye, clean, yes, everything!
Younger Japanese people probably do not know the word Shikkaiya san and have no idea what they do. Shikkaiya san were always around in old time.
What is happening now about clothings in Japan?
Kimono became very special clothings, and western clothings(yofuku) are now worn by everyone.
Rich people buy clothings by expensive & famous brand. Ordinary people buy from UNIQLO. However, the border is becoming not clear-not so rich people also buy things by famous brand. UNIQLO are loved by everyone also. Originally, they are both manifacrued things, so if you take away the labels of brand, quality does not have too big difference. Some brand sell very expensive things but still their goods are not so expensive as expensive kimono.
Yofuku, western clothings are not recycled mostly in Japan, and only very smal part(approx 10 %)go to South East Asia and become ordinary clothigns for people there.
As you know, kimono market is now truly small.
The whole sale of kimono industry is less than UNIQLO, so actually the chart showing kimono should be much smaller. The kimono market became so small, so the base to support the work of hands were gone.
Because of the achievement of technology, they managed to produce and maintain the small size industry - but that caused all the mess.
***`Real kimono made by series of elaborate handwork costs high(so only the people who are really rich could afford) are now considered to be in reach for ordinary people.'
Starting from twisting threads and all the following work(weaving, dyeing, tailoring and so so on) are possible only by craftsmen who have studied for years, and by their months of work.
But recent kimono stores had aggressive sales ( saying, `we have very good loan system' or `this will be yout treasure for life'.) The customers are often to naive also. They just buy what they see in kimono magazines - the things disproportionate to their incomes. But this is very tricky and complicated.
*** `It is so hard to tell which is done by hand or machine, natural materials or artificial material. The border became so hard to tell.'
Hand spun threds or machine spun threads? Weaving by machine or looms? Natural dye stuff or chemical dye stuff?
Some difference are obvious but high quality goods by machine can deceive professionals. For ordinary people, it must be impssible to know. However, customers have this obsession, `handwork is the best'. For them, it is like magic words. `handwoven', and `natural dye' .
Sellers know about these magical words, so they try to become ambiguous. Sometimes they misuse the `handwork belief', and try to sell things not so much value.
***`Kimono should be tailored to fit the wearer. Used kimono? No way'.
Many older kimono wearers feel that way. Some of those people have the handwork belief and complain, kimono are too expensive...
These mess and complications are happening in kimono industry because of the change of life style.
Then, what is the best thing?
If you are rich, please buy the real new kimono made by real handwork and support the industry. Yes, rich people became patrons and supported art and culture from long ago!
If you are ordinary people, please find your favorite kimono no matterh they are handwoen or natural dye or genuine silk. You can find your favorite design new kimono if you throw away the old idea. Synthetic kimono are easy to handle!
IF you feel like wearing kimono made by handwork, you can find them among used kimono. You can buy those kimono for less than US $100 or a couple of hundred dollars- they used to have the price tag with some thousands dollars or more.
New kimono with handwork as handspun, dyed by natural dye stuff, hand woven and tailored kimono have price an aloof away.
With these quality, used kimono are affordable.
By reading the background, you must be ready to buy used kimono at Ichiroya!
You are always welcome:-)