Kimono, translated “something worn” are the traditional garments of Japan. The Kimono is made of a single basic pattern, cut and woven perfectly straight and flat in order to be taken apart for cleaning, folding and storage. Kimono appear uncomplicated and simple in its construction, yet hidden in its fabric lie the beauty, and elaborate elegance of Japanese culture. Many variations of vintage Kimono are achieved through the different types of Japanese textile and patterns such as silk, cotton, linen, wool, and in modern time’s synthetic fabric. Kimono were made by hand with great care and precision, hand sewn and dyed.
Vintage Kimono are classified according to when the textile was dyed, before or after the weaving process. The pre-dyed Kimono are known as Saki-Zome which are made from reeled silk, heavy crepe, spun silk, silk gauze, and leno weave, cotton and linen were also Japanese textile used in Saki-Zome Kimono. The Ato-Zome, or Kimono dyed after the weaving process became popular as new developments occurred in the dying and decorating techniques. Today, the more elaborate and expensive Kimono are still made by hand, but because of the amount of time and costs involved, most Kimono today are made by machine.
Clothing in many cultures is an indicator of class, rank and status. Historically, delineation of rank was one of the significant social functions of the kimono; rank was determined by the Kimono pattern, use of the Mon (family crest) as well as the color. However, today the modern kimono no longer has the ability to express distinctions between classes or rank. The modern Japanese kimono still maintains the many styles of kimono; Japanese kimono are still worn for various occasions ranging from the most formal to the very informal or casual as well as the season. The formality of the kimono is still determined by the fabric, pattern, and color.