In one of our previous newsletter, we included a quiz such as this:
Q Which is approprite to wear to attend a wedding?
*Silk houmongi (dyed)kimono, price $100
*Silk tsumugi kimono, price $1000
The answer was some(dyed) kimono.
However, as you know, fashion changes as time goes by and kimono is not an exception, even though kimono is almost an `endangered' type of clothing.
If you visit Japan, you can see many people wearing kimono in town-that is totally wrong. You seldom see people wearing kimono. Only for special occasions, such as festive occasions, attending wedding, graduation ceremonies and so on, you can see people wearing kimono. People who learn Ocha(tea), or Japanese traditional dance or instrument wear kimono and a few people who love to wear kimono. Kimono wearers are minority, it is actually very hard to find someone wearing kimono in town.
Ocha(way ot tea) seems to keep strict dress-code, and people are very careful about what to wear in tea ceremonies. One of our customer who has been in Ocha world for a long time recently told me about interestin change of kimono dress code.
It used to be, tsumgui was not worn. Even for practice, I think it depends on the sensei(teacher), but tsumugi was considered NOT appropriate.
Rank(KAKU) of kimono is quite strict, and for formal occasion, people wear tomesode(married woman) and furisode(unmarried woman). Houmongi(literally means, `visiting wear') is semi formal kimono worn both by married and unmarried woman.
Houmongi has decorative patterns running continuously over the seams.
Here are the example of houmongi:
Houmongi is not robe montante but more like cocktail dress(I hope this example is correct).
Since tsumugi, woven pattern kimono was considered as not formal, based on the historical background(silk thread for tsumugi was from `left over' silk in making silk thread procedure), tsumugi did not have citizenship in ocha world.
However, there seems to be a trend. This customer reported us, at least where she lives, the ban has been removed. Tsumugi houmongi got citizenship.
It used to be, iromuji(solid color) kimono was a mainstream but rahter colorful wear can be seen recently in ocha. It still differs what to wear depending on your role but Sensei(teacher)are starting to wear tsumugi houmongi and that impressed everyone favorably.
Tsumugi lovers are so many actually. Textured and natural touch of tsumugi have been loved and tsumugi has evolved.
It used to be the words tsumugi and houmongi were contradicted. Tsumugi were supposed to be casual, everyday clothing, lower statsu compared to dyed kimono.
Houmongi was always `dyed' kimono. However tsumugi, woven houmongi appeared(people say it is a tactics of kimono industry) after WWII. Still until recently, tsumugi houmongi was rather unusualy, unique exitence, but chic and nice tsumugi houmongi with amazing design increased and fashionable people loved those good design tsumug kimono.
The kimon on top of this page also is tsumugi houmongi. Tsumugi kimono is like a good quality suit(sorry I use this expression so many times!), they are natural and not too flamboyant.
There are enthusiaxtic tsumugi kimono fans, and I hear many times about people who only love tsumugi among all kimono.
Here are more tsumugi houmong examples:
You can see - tsumugi kimono can have modern design, subtle colors and natural impression. It used to be tsumugi has rustic impression but there are more and more sophisticated design tsumugi increasing.
The live report from our customer about kimono dress code of tea world was very interesting. She thinks more people will be wearing tsumugi houmongi in tea ceremonies.
One of our customer learns ocha in USA and she has quite many kimono. She recognizes the charms of nice quality tsumugi but also faces this dress code problem.
What she wrote was hilarious and I think she is speaking for all Japanese kimono wearers. That is `Freedom for the Tsumugi!'
We are often asked about dress code (kimono code) and sometimes we are asked whether is is all right to wear tsumugi houmongi for attending wedding. We knew there are still quite many people who consider tsumugi as `casual wear', so we say, it depends on the place but if it is very traditional type of wedding(with many older generation), dyed kimono might be safer.
Tsumugi houmongi seem to be worn in parties recentry, so the situation will change and tsumugi houmongi might be upgraded as more formal wear. We can feel this movement but at the same time we hear tsumugi is still tsumugi and cannot be the same as dyed kimono.We like to watch this movement.