Whenever I talk about kimono and other forms of traditional Japanese clothing on Tokyo Telephone I always feel the need to reiterate the fact that I’m no expert in this beautiful and often confusing field: I’m a fair-weather kimono fancier, a window-shopper and a dreamer. So let me say it one more time: I’m just dipping my toe into the wonderful world of wafuku, and there plenty of other people out there who know a whole more about it than I do… however if we’re talking about the social significance of Comme des Garcons, that’s another story!

Right, disclaimer out of the way, today I wanted to introduce furifu, one of my favourite modern kimono retailers. I first came across furifu when searching for some authentically Japanese presents a few years ago and now I always find my feet taking me back there, especially when we’re strolling around Parco in Shibuya. I think what appeals to me about furifu is that there’s quite a relaxed atmosphere – kimono can feel like a rather closed world, particularly for a foreign novice like me. The shop staff are always friendly and happy to talk about everything, and there’s a lovely mix of contemporary wafuku and Japan-influenced clothing and accessories.

It seems that whenever anyone mentions kimono and wafuku in the media it’s always with the angle that no-one wears kimono anymore and it’s a dying art. I’ve spoken to a few of our Japanese friends about this in the past, and while they’re enthusiastic about the idea of kimono, the reality is that it’s expensive, hard to wear and something more associated with their mothers. I truly hope that boutiques like furifu and others will continue to show wafuku in a modern and accessible light, it’s essential now more then ever. While I don’t think kimono will ever really disappear from the streets of Tokyo, I’d really love to see more youth subcultures incorporating some traditional elements, such as dolly-kei rethinking obi and over-jackets. Hayatochiri of KitaKore has been producing some fantastic hand armour accessories of late using beautiful silks, and I hope that underground fashion picks up on this…  So, let’s look a little more at furifu and be inspired:

Total sucker for anything with cats.

A selection from the webshop:

Giant fake pearls?! Yes indeed.

The original colour-blockers.

More cats on the left…

In the words of Issey Miyake: pleats please!

Dangly-bobs for your obi (yes, dangly-bobs is the technical term!)

Excuse me while I sew jewels on all of my gloves.

Last but not least, yofuku styling:

I fully intended to buy the black and white cat jacket, but it sold out before I got the chance. Seriously gutted.

I feel really inspired to incorporate more Japanese imagery into my wardrobe after putting this together – let me know if you feel motived to join me! (Take a look at Lyuba’s great blog for an example of kimono being stylishly worn in the West – love it!)

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2 Responses to furifu – Reimagining Wafuku

  1. Leanne says:

    Takuya Angel in Harajuku is one designer that is trying to keep the kimono and traditional clothing styles alive, albeit by combining with cyber looks. It’s very popular with cybergoth clubbing kids (though terribly expensive, so some girls model for free in order to get the clothes!) DJ Sisen popularised the label most, but he’s now left to live in Germany.

  2. Rebecca says:

    @ Leanne – Great to hear from you! What’s this about you popping over in March? Sounds fab!

    Ah yes, I did write about TA years ago (one of our first posts, eep!), so thanks for reminding me – I think we’re long over-due a proper photo session there 😉

    Oh, Sisen left Tokyo? Wow, I had no idea! I’ll always remember being in awe of his giant shoes in the Gothic & Lolita Bibles!

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