kimono

Tokyo Travels Day 4

It's Saturday morning and I wake up bright and early at 8am. One bonus of traveling internationally (at least for me) is that I tend to sleep and and wake earlier than usual while still managing to feel refreshed^^. 

Kohei has invited me to a group lunch today at a nearby restaurant with some of his friends. I take it easy in the morning and by around noon I get ready to head out. Eno messages me and asks what I am up to for the day. I tell him about my lunch plans and invite him to join. He messages back saying he'll meet me at the restaurant. Perfect!

By around 2pm, the entire party has arrived. Kohei's 4 friends Cindy, Ken, Len, and Misa are in attendance, all of whom live in Tokyo except for Cindy who is here on holiday, like me. Kohei, Ken, Len, and Cindy all work in finance. Misa is a flight stewardess. We're all chatting with one another from across the table when I find out that Ken grew up in New York. A fellow American, yay!

The Lunch crew! (I have no idea what's going on with my face here lol)

After lunch, Ken heads out to meet up with a friend of his. Kohei wants to go check out the Aoyama Farmer's Market and I want to go to Morita, a textile store specializing in antique kimono and fabric. Cindy, Len, and Misa follow Kohei while Eno comes with me to the store.

I show Eno the address and thankfully, since he is a local, he becomes my IRL Google Maps. 15 minutes later, we arrive at Morita. Opened by Tadashi Morita, the store is a little mom&pop shop run by Morita himself along with his wife. 

Morita storefront

If vintage fabric isn't your cup of tea, don't fret, this store carries more than just that. Not only do they carry a lovely selection of vintage kimono and fabrics, they also sell furoshiki (wrapping cloths), antique ceramics, and mingei (Japanese folk crafts). But alas, fabric is my bread and butter so that is what I gravitate towards! Morita carries a wide range of textiles from vintage cottons and silks to elaborately stitched sashiko and neatly woven sakiori pieces. This is fabric heaven for me. 

Stacks of vintage kimono

Beautiful Sashiko fabric

I rummage through the textiles for nearly 45 minutes before I settle on what I want to purchase. Although a bit pricey, the quality of the textiles justifies the high price tag. I buy 3 different fabrics, each about a yard per piece. One is a black cotton with a lovely woven white geometric print. The other two are deep indigo dyed cotton pieces that I will be using for a Haori coat I am currently making for a Brooklyn based client. I always get so giddy when I go fabric shopping, especially when I have the opportunity to get my hands on fabric like this! 

The fabric I bought at Morita

After I’ve purchased my fabric, Eno invites me to meet up with his friends for some dinner and drinks at an izakaya in Shibuya. When we arrive, two of his friends, Yuno and Jiyeon, are already standing outside (they will also be the models for tomorrow’s shoot). As we’re making introductions, I feel my phone buzz. Brendan’s been texting me throughout the afternoon. I check his latest text and he’s asking to FaceTime. As the group begins to head upstairs to get seated, I excuse myself to go talk to Brendan.  

Owner, Tadashi Morita, packing my fabric purchases

About 20 minutes later, I finish my call and return to the group upstairs. Another one of Eno’s friends has joined; his name is Toto. A few minutes later, I get a message from Kohei asking what I’m up to. I text him back telling him to join us. Just as I hit send, I get a message from Derek, a friend who was introduced to me by our mutual friend Anthony Latouche (aka Mr. Hat). Derek is from London and has been living in Nagoya for the past year for work. His message says he and his girlfriend are in Tokyo for the next 48 hours and would love to meet up if I’m free. I invite the two to join us, because, well, the more the merrier!!!

Isabelle, Derek, Yuno, and Aaran

Our group has gotten a bit too big for the izakaya, so we settle the bill and make our way to another izakaya. Eno says this place is great because of its crazy cheap beer and ample space. Not too long after we get there, Aaran comes with one of his friends. At this point, we’re taking over two tables. 

It's Kohei! 

Finally, the group decides to call it a night and head our separate ways. I walk Derek and Isabelle to the train and bid them goodbye. I’m so happy Derek messaged me during his precious 48 hours in town- it was such a wonderful surprise! I tell the two of them to hit me up if they find themselves in New York and they say the same if I find myself in London.

Got a cute snapshot of the 3 of us before Isabelle & Derek head home! 

Kohei and I take the train back to Akasaka. We get off at our stop and on the way we pass by his local watering hole, The Quarter House. He asks if I’d be down to pop in for a quick drink and I say sure! The first floor is a restaurant and the basement is the bar. Kohei tells me a locale runs the restaurant while his son runs the bar. As we descend the stairs, I see there is a small group hanging out. A friend of Kohei’s is rummaging through a stack of records while the owner, his wife, and their two friends are drinking at the bar. I take a seat and start talking to the bartender.

Her name is Minami and it turns out, she used to live in New York for 6 years! Minami is a jewelry designer and used to work at Momo Sushi in Brooklyn, right off the Morgan stop on the L. I’m so surprised. I tell her I go to that place all the time! I must have seen her before. She asks what I do and I tell her about The Kimono Kid and how I make custom kimono. I tell her my studio is also in Brooklyn off the Grand stop. She asks me where exactly the studio’s located and it turns out, her ex-boyfriend has a studio in the same building. What a small world!

The Quarter House (photo courtesy of @mizuki_1120)

It’s around 1am when Kohei and I finish our drinks. We say goodnight to everyone at the bar and head back to the apartment. It’s been a fun day but boy am I happy to be crawling into bed now!

Tomorrow, Talia will be coming to stay with me in the guestroom suite that is available via the building management. I’ll also be shooting with Eno, Aaran, Jiyeon, and Yuno tomorrow. It’s going to be a big day so time for some shuteye now. Night night!

 

Sasa 莎莎


MORITA

5-12-2 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Monday-Sunday 10am-7pm

 

THE QUARTER HOUSE

5-1-34 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo 
Monday-Saturday 6pm-2am

Welcome to the TKK blog!

Hello everyone! My name is Sasa 莎莎 and I am both the founder and designer of The Kimono Kid. For the past two years, I’ve been making custom kimono for clients from all around the world.

That's me! Sasa The Kimono Kid^^

That's me! Sasa The Kimono Kid^^

For the vast majority of people, the word ‘kimono’ brings up an image of an antiquated geisha in a foreign land, wearing a floor length robe during feudal times. However, it would do kimono no justice to be limited to such a stereotyped image. So first, let me break down the etymology of the word…

In Japanese, kimono is written as two kanji characters. The first kanji “ki” () means “wearing”. The second kanji “mono” () means “thing”. Thus the term kimono refers to a vast majority of clothing worn by the Japanese people for centuries. These include, but are not limited to Yukata, Haori, Furisode, Komon, Happi, Jinbei, etc. Each of the different types of kimono varies in overall length, sleeve style, and functionality.  However, it was during the late 19th century/ turn of the 20th century that kimono dress was rapidly replaced by Western style clothing as a means of convenience and modernization during changing times. Hence, the current common misconception of kimono as antiquated dress.

My personal relationship with kimono began about 3 years ago. At the time, I was still studying in the fashion program at Parsons. It was winter break so I went to London on holiday. It was on this trip that I was gifted an antique Haori kimono by an old friend. I brought the Haori back to New York and soon enough took the garment apart, fascinated by its timeless beauty and sleek design. Once the pieces were unraveled, I studied the Haori’s craftsmanship and construction. I began collecting various antique kimono as I was eager to feed my growing curiosity. Eventually, my Aunt in Osaka learned of my new hobby and sent over dozens of family kimono pieces for me to continue learning. Over the next year, I began drafting my own patterns and constructing kimono from scratch. By the end of that year, I received my first custom kimono inquiry from a young man in Brooklyn. That young man sent me referrals and soon enough clients came rolling in. In the past two years since starting The Kimono Kid, I have built the TKK website, got my first studio space in East Williamsburg Brooklyn, developed relationships with fabric mills both locally and abroad, and have acquired a vast variety of custom kimono clients from around the world.

As a kimono craftswoman and aficionado, I firmly believe it is of the utmost importance to not only continue honing my craft, but to also keep learning and expanding my repertoire of kimono knowledge. This brings me to the purpose of this blog. Through the TKK blog, I hope to share with you the history, traditions, and inner workings of all things kimono-related.

Please stay tuned for my upcoming posts on my recent trip to Tokyo. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite fabrics stores, kimono shops, restaurants, project collaborators, and so much more!

I look forward to sharing all that I can with you guys and hope that you may come to love kimono as much as I do^^

Until next time…

Sasa 莎莎