Far from their traditional association with burnt rubber, squealing brakes and gritty endurance, tires lend a spot of delicate geometry to these kimono prints.

May tends to mark the end of spring in Japan, which in many parts of the country means the slow but inevitable climb upwards to the muggy, steaming climes of summer. And that temperature upswing is the perfect excuse to break out a classic piece of clothing: the yukata, a breezier style of unline kimono, typically made of a breathable fabric such as cotton or synthetic fiber.

Yukata are a booming business in the summer, with affordable brands selling simple yet cute sets and designer labels touting all manner of themed tie-ins and glamorous alternatives. Browse enough stores and you might feel you’ve seen every kind of classy geometric print the kimono has to offer… But you would be wrong.

Toyo Tires‘ 2014 advert campaign has attracted new buzz in 2019

Enter Toyo Tires, who we’ve featured before for their snappy promotional videos. The ad in question ran in 2014, but gained a new lease of life when the Twitter account @inspi_com, an archive of “Ads/Copywriting/Design/Art”, featured the prints in a tweet.

▼ “Aren’t these Toyo Tires tire-print kimonos incredible?”


A helpful commenter provided the link for the ad itself, so a new generation could ooh and ahh over the high production and – naturally – the beautiful kimonos on display.

▼ Here we see an artisan painstakingly reproducing the chunky tire print onto a stencil…

▼ And then the ink wash as it’s dyed into the fabric.

▼ Who knew you could reinterpret a tire so many ways?

The new wave of fans seemed very impressed, not just with the Toyo Tires’ kimono but the concept of tire print in general. Hence a deluge of advanced automobile apparel ensued…

▼ Burn rubber as you race down the beach?

▼ This Longchamp x Jeremy Scott Le Pliage bag from 2011 was ahead of the curve.

▼ Wait, that’s a scooter tire…also, why would you make this?

Unfortunately, as sharp as Toyo Tires’ fashion sensibilities were, they missed a real trick with this campaign: namely in that the yukata were not actually for sale at any point in time between 2014 and now, though models sporting the prints were seen at numerous press events.

▼ Including regular kimono prints for winter!

It feels like we’re due for some tire art revival, considering all the attention these yukata received. And with all kinds of new takes on classic fashion already launched this year, 2019 is revving up to be something exciting!

Source: Twitter/inspi_com, YouTube/Toyo Tires Japan
Images: YouTube/Toyo Tires Japan

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