Pop-up stores in Gunma Prefecture will also showcase these fashion items that bridge the past and present.

Meisen silk (銘仙) kimono, with their bold splashes of color and often geometric designs, were some of the most popular everyday clothing choices for Japanese women in the Taisho period (1912-1926) through early Showa period (1926-1989). Produced largely in the northern Kanto region’s Gunma Prefecture, the meisen silk industry as a whole is now in rapid decline in this modern age.

However, that hasn’t stopped a few creative minds from thinking up delightful ways to upcycle vintage fabrics from these kimono. As we’ve seen recently in these other western-style dresses offered by a Kyoto-based company, there’s something fascinating about fusing the traditional with the modern to create new fashion offerings. “Culture clothing brand” Ay is one such group pushing the boundaries with their mission of literally “reweaving culture” through traditional crafts and modern technology. In fact, just recently Ay has released a small line of four new clothing items perfect for the fall and winter that incorporate upcycled meisen silk kimono into their designs.

▼ “Historical modernism” is the theme in this promotional video for the collection.

While certainly not inexpensive, the clothing items are notable for their use of sustainable materials in the non-meisen silk elements of their design. Let’s take a look at each one a bit more closely.

Haori gown (27,300 yen [US$240])

This unisex haori (kimono jacket) is mainly made from corduroy with meisen silk accents along the hems and a straight line down the back. A slit on each side also makes it very easy to move around. Its pleasant thickness is sure to keep you warm in the chilly days to come.

3-way cape-style dress (32,000 yen)

This versatile piece is customizable depending on your mood. Once more featuring silk accents along hemlines, it opens into a lovely mermaid-style dress.

Layered skirt (33,000 yen)

The skirt is the most expensive piece in this collection but is also the most dramatic with its large splashes of vibrant meisen silk swatches. As a bonus, the rest of the fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles. All of the tiers of the skirt together resemble large flower petals.

Upcycled lace blouse (22,000 yen)

Lastly, this blouse incorporates upcycled lace that would have otherwise been disposed of at the factory. Other parts of the fabric are made from the same sustainable material as the skirt.

This clothing line is now available to purchase from Ay’s online store. While one physical Ay pop-up store location has just finished its run in Gunma’s Maebashi City, another will open on November 14 in Kiryu City (information below).

For more unique modern takes on the kimono, check out this high fashion line from earlier in the year or these heel covers to give your favorite pumps just a little splash of the past.

Pop-up store information
Culture brand Ay / カルチャーブランドAy(アイ)
Address: Gunma-ken, Kiryu-shi, Suehiro-cho 11-1, within JR Kiryu Station, ALL RIGHT
群馬県桐生市末広町11−1 JR桐生駅構内 ALL RIGHT
Date: November 14, 2021
Open: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Source: PR Times via Japaaan
Images: PR Times
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