News from Kazari + Ziguzagu

Kimono: Its Place in the Modern World

Monday, January 14, 2019

1,2[The February 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a fun time dressing up in Yukata - a semi casual type of summer kimono.]

The Japanese kimono (or traditional Japanese robe) is a timeless icon of style and culture worldwide. Whether it’s a men's kimono or women's kimono, this simple, elegant garment has a revered history, dating back to the Heian period (794-1192). Yet even today, style lovers still regard the kimono as having earned an unshakeable place as a 21st century sartorial statement. At Kazari + Ziguzagu we’re in agreement.

Traditional Japanese kimono: a history

3[The March 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon net focused on a modern interpretation of traditional indigo dyed cotton Kimono.]

The first recorded Japanese kimono was during the Heian period (794-1192). The word kimono derives from two Japanese words4: ‘ki’ (meaning wear) and ‘mono’ (meaning thing) but was commonly understood as the word for clothing. A traditional kimono was hand sewn and designed to reflect the distinctive ‘self’ of the person wearing it. When laid flat, a kimono or ‘Japanese jacket’ is T-shaped. A kimono gown was traditionally made from silk, hemp or linen and the colour, style and pattern varied greatly depending on many factors like age, gender, occasion, marital status and social class. Common motifs for the Japanese kimono are nature scenes and flora and fauna.


5[The April 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net featured a striking vintage Kimono and an unusual abstract linear motif Obi pairing with brightly coloured accessories based around a theme of 'wearable art'. Set in the grounds of the Heide Museum of Modern Art's sculpture park.]

There are many unique charms to a kimono. Just one instance is the fact that the dye colouring kimono fabric is thought to transfer its medical benefits into the fabric. For example, blue fabrics dyed from indigo were believed to have the ability to heal and prevent infection. A red traditional kimono - symbolising not only happiness but also passion, sacrifice and power - is still the most popular colour in Japan.

During the Meiji Period (1868-1912) the Japanese government encouraged its citizens to adopt western style dress and the kimono fell out of fashion as an everyday garment but has undergone steady resurgence in recent times as a vibrant form of self-expression. The world over, it is seen as a signifier of a uniquely Japanese reverence for grace and elegance.

Kimono as contemporary fashion

6[The May 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a very versatile type of Kimono called Komon which has a all-over pattern. You can dress up or down by pairing with casual or formal Obi and Kimono dress accessories.] 

Many aspects of Japanese culture have influenced western countries and these photographs show models wearing kimono Australia style, demonstrating how it can be worn in a contemporary western context. Kimonos are very versatile, wearable during all seasons and for many occasions, depending on the materials and patterns.


7[The June 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a Kimono in wedding style with a modern long-sleeved formal Kimono called 'Furisode'.]


Kimono ‘obi’ or sash

Obi kimono and kimono sash in fact refer to the same thing (the word ‘obi’ means sash in Japanese) and tend to be worn in a more traditional context. Despite the popularity of the silk kimono dressing gown or floral kimono Australia wide, which can easily be worn without an obi or sash, there is still a place for traditional kimono, worn in the Japanese traditional style.

Kazari + Ziguzagu has kimonos for sale in a variety of colours, materials and patterns, offered with a co-ordinating ‘obi’ and suitable for a wide variety of uses, styles or occasions. If you’re interested in learning more or wish to buy kimono, Kazari + Ziguzagu stock new kimono, as well vintage and antique kimono styles.


Kimono as art


Aside from their allure as clothing, kimonos’ outstanding craftsmanship and design also make them highly sought after as unique and stunning art pieces that will increase in value over time. Come in store to browse Japanese kimono for sale or purchase a kimono as a special gift.


Antique and vintage kimono are especially popular as wall hangings because of their faded beauty and the fact that they are too fragile to be worn or washed. Select a one-of-a-kind artwork to add individuality to your home.


10[The July 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features striking Meisen Kimono.]


Kimono fabric used for other purposes


12Handmade vintage Kimono fabric Zabutons


Kimono material is traditionally 36 centimetres wide and cut into four panels before being fashioned into the garment. Instead of the classic robe, striking kimono textiles can be used for many things, such as cushions, quilts, scarves and accessories.


13[The August 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a winter casual style with a vintage wool Kimono.]

Repurposing kimono fabric is an ideal way to bridge the gap between ancient Japanese culture and present-day Australian decor.


14[The September 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features an antique kid’s Kimono style for 'Shichi-Go-San' - a traditional Japanese celebration for the growth and passage of young children into their middle childhood, for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys.]

As these beautiful images show, kimono can be worn in a variety of ways. Select a light fabric for an outdoor summer outfit or rug up in wool for a cosy winter’s coffee date. The colours can reflect your mood and you can also turn to the obi to add variety and accentuate shape.

At Kazari + Ziguzagu we periodically run workshops  on how to wear kimono. Come in store or shop online to discover the vibrant world of Japanese kimono.

15[The October 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a dressing up in a Kimono for Spring Racing Carnival.] 


1 All kimono model images posted in Dengon Net Feb-August 2017 issues: Stylist Sala Okabe W: | Photographer Rina Kakioka W: | Instagram @kimono_biyori_au

2 Dengon Net February Issue: Wardrobe Ziguzagu women's Yukata | Location Yoku Ono W:

3 Dengon Net March Issue: Location tana cafe | W:

The Unique History and Fascinating Evolution of the Japanese Kimono

5 Dengon Net April Issue: Wardrobe Kazari + Ziguzagu | Model Miho Ishii Instagram: @mihoishii_japan

7 Dengon Net June Issue: Hair and Makeup Artist Yumi Conaghty W: | Wedding Florist by Azumi W: | Model Maria Abe | Shop more Kimono and Obi at Ziguzagu!

8 Vintage Japanese Kimono fabric piece | Material: Rinzu silk damask | Motif: floral folding fan | Age: early 20th C | Condition: slightly yellowed and spotted, still in good vintage condition | Measurements: 34cm wide x 128cm long.

9 Antique Men's Hemp Kimono

10 Dengon Net July |Hair Stylist Maiko Kobayashi / Maison Tsumiki Instagram: @koba_maiko_hairstylist | Model Akane Instagram: @qqq_akane Mio Instagram: @mi000ooo | Location Parlour Diner Facebook: parlourdiner2012

11 Handmade Vintage Kimono Fabric Zabuton

12 Handmade Vintage Kimono Fabric

13 Dengon Net AugustModel YeYe, Seido Tanaka (TANAKA OF THE HAMADA), Jun Hamada (Lainy J Groove/TANAKA OF THE HAMADA) | Location PAPIRICA Instagram: papirica_cafe | Instagram @kimono_biyori_au

14 Dengon Net SeptemberWardrobe Ziguzagu Children's Kimono | Model Elly

15 Dengon Net OctoberHair Stylist Hiroko Okada Art of Hair W: | Model Enna Raphaelle Rossy Instagram: @rrrphaelle | Milliner Serena Lindeman W:


Transforming the Broken to the Beautiful:The Art of Kintsugi

Wednesday, January 09, 2019


“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.”
- Ernest Hemingway

The famous American writer’s quote could very easily be seen as a metaphor for the age-old Japanese art of kintsugi, in which golden or other precious metallic joinery is used to repair and in the process, transform, broken pottery. The material used is essentially lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. 

Kintsugi is built around a deeply held philosophy; that all things are impermanent and that change and flux are part of the human condition. The art therefore reveres breakage and repair as part of the story of an object, rather than something to mask. Not surprisingly it is also closely linked to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which sees beauty in the flawed or imperfect, the Japanese feeling of mottainai or regret over waste or loss, as well as mushin, the acceptance of change. Kintsugi is also related to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" which is based on the ideas of non-attachment, acceptance of mutability, and fate.


The history of Kintsugi

Like many Japanese traditions, while kintsugi’s origins also encompass China, Vietnam, and Korea, its application in Japan helped raise it to the level of true artistry.

It is thought to date back to the late 15th century, when, as legend has it, Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a cracked chawan or tea bowl back to China to be mended. He was displeased to find the repaired bowl had been restored with ugly metal staples and spurred his craftsmen to find a more aesthetically pleasing method of repair. Kintsugi is still closely associated with ceramic vessels used for the Japanese tea ceremony although its application has also expanded to a wide variety of objects.



Step by step Kintsugi:

There are numerous kits and workshops available for anyone wishing to repair a loved object and give it new life through the gently restorative art of kintsugi. While the below steps are a simplified breakdown of the method, which requires painstaking cleaning, patient layering and mindful waiting (or drying time), they provide a useful starting point for understanding this time-honoured tradition.
  1. Break: Accept the impermanence of all things and gather the fragments of the broken object. Make the choice to give a new life to the object instead of discarding it.
  2. Assemble: Clean the fragments with a brush or cloth. Collect the necessary tools (spatula, palette, lacquer, brushes, gold powder, drying box, chopsticks, turpentine, sandpaper, silk cotton...). Carefully assess and assemble the puzzle of the broken object.
  3. Repair: Apply layers of lacquer with a very fine brush on all broken edges of the object and assemble them to make the object whole.
  4. Embellish: Apply gold powder with cotton or application tube onto the still sticky lacquer. Once the lacquer dries, use a soft cloth to remove excess gold powder and reveal the gold scars.
  5. Protect: Use a thin layer of protective lacquer to fix the gold. Let it dry for 24 hours. This last step is not always performed as it affects the colour of the gold.

In our western modern world, bound by consumerism, waste and attachment to unrealistic ideals of beauty, the concept of kintsugi has much to teach us. If you would like to know more about kintsugi at Kazari + Ziguzagu we would be more than happy to assist you. We also offer a kintsugi service to bring new life and a beautiful new layer of meaning to objects in need of repair and restoration.