• F AF

Lana Matsumoto

Kimono-stylist, founder of online-boutique Shopkimono.com

I was very lucky. I found my way after settling in Japan. But this did not happen immediately. When I moved here 8 years ago, I was very confused. Then it seemed that everything that I studied, my diplomas and all the experience thanks to which I made a career in Russia, went for nothing. I literally began to look for myself anew. It was only 3 years ago that the puzzle finally came together.

Quite by accident, I was invited to watch a Japanese dance lesson where the participants dance in kimono. Earlier in Russia, I taught choreography at the Pedagogical College, so for me this experience seemed incredibly interesting. There I tried on a kimono for the first time, and it turned out to be a life-changing event.

Putting on a kimono is a fascinating process. It literally transforms, emphasizes femininity, hides figure flaws. I was fascinated by this unique outfit: the quality of the silk, the splendor of the painting, the skillfully selected color transitions in color and the amount of manual labor involved in working on each of these silk masterpieces. Like an haute couture dress, 12 meters of kimono silk and lining are hand-sewn so that at first glance it will seem to you that the seams are machine-stitched: everything is done so smoothly and finely.

In modern Japan, the kimono is no longer popular. I’m sorry that this is happening. Now a Japanese girl wears a kimono-furisode only once - on the day of Coming of Age. The same kimono can still be seen at the wedding. Only the bride is no longer wearing an ordinary kimono, but a special one made of embroidered silk and kimono-uchikake, which looks more like a cape coat.

Today I have my own unique online kimono boutique Shopkimono.com, where over 80% of the assortment is vintage but brand-new unused kimonos. I prefer vintage to modern kimonos for several reasons. The important ones are price and value. I would like to introduce European girls to this outfit, to dispel the stereotypes that a kimono is an outfit only for a geisha. On Instagram @shopkimono and the boutique website, I show you how you can integrate a kimono into a modern wardrobe. How stylish, authentic and fashionable it is. In this I see my humble mission now.

And in my business now I simply cannot do without online technologies. After all, being thousands of kilometers away from my customers, I have the opportunity to convey my ideas, talk about each of the kimonos in my collection (for this I often resort to video reviews in stories). But this same digitalization sometimes plays a cruel joke with us. I am talking about the fact that, for example, to optimize the costs of making modern kimonos, the sketch and cover print are increasingly created using computer graphics, and the production of silk is also entrusted to machines. Here’s another plus in favor of vintage kimonos.

Recently, by the way, I was at a factory in Kanazawa - this is a city where kimonos are still hand-painted using a special technique called «kaga-yuzen». There, in my presence, artists painted a fantastic kimono-furisode. I asked about the price - it will cost 50 thousand dollars. And I’m not surprised. There are fewer and fewer masters who know this business, and I think this is one of the features of phydgital.

Although, as strange as it may sound - with all the highly developed technologies, perhaps Japan will become one of the last countries where phydgital novelties will be introduced into the lives of ordinary people. Here’s an example: in Japan, documents are still sent by fax, and it is customary to write letters by hand. So, having made a gift to a person, you will definitely receive a handwritten note with words of gratitude in return. It makes me happy, as if I was in an oasis, a double world. While robots are walking in the center of Tokyo, you should turn into an alley and you will see - no phydgital will be here for a long time.