From a selection of kimonos at Chiso in Kyoto.
Chiso has been making kimonos in Kyoto since 1555. Perspective: in 1555, Leonardo da Vinci was three-years-old, and Shakespeare, yet to be born was 45 years away from writing Hamlet. Chiso embraces both traditional and modern techniques, whether it’s via original dyeing weaving expertise or using a computer to design a delicate flower based off a century’s-old design. Kimonos are worn today mainly for special occasions, but the artistry behind them is a national (one might argue global) treasure. Especially if it’s a kimono from Chiso, which has been supplying kimonos for the Japanese royal family. A visit to the headquarters reveals a first-hand look at how the artisans work, and maybe a peek into its extensive archives. The company has kept a swatch or photocopy of every fabric sample made in its history.

Visit Chiso Kimono


Left to right: Swatches of fabric from the archives; Coloring tools in the studio.