When sisters and co-founders Tiffany and Renee Tam set out to make kimono robes, they wanted to bring a little luxury to women’s everyday lives. As moms and entrepreneurs, they knew that finding the beauty in the everyday was an anchor and a grounding force in their own lives. And that mission, to bring a little beauty into the world, is what they continue to work towards today for everyone in every body.
KIM+ONO isn’t just a kimono company, it's a place where you can come to feel like the most beautiful version of yourself, the most unique and authentic version, and the place where you can remember to be well. And that ethos is stitched into every single piece and inspires each design. So today in the journal, we’re celebrating the way your kimono robe is an expression of your unique beauty, your body, and your journey.
Tiffany and Renee may not have known they were going to open up their own store in adulthood, but you might think they were destined to open KIM+ONO from childhood. Their parents owned two stores on Chinatown’s Grant Ave — Canton Bazaar and Old Shanghai. From a young age, the sisters were always running around the store and hanging in Chinatown when they weren’t in school. They watched their parents navigate their small business and as they got a bit older, they pitched in at the stores and running the shops truly became a family affair. Not only did this teach Tiffany and Renee how running a retail business in Chinatown worked, but their parents also took them on business trips to China as they worked with vendors and artisans to source the inventory for the stores. They were highly attuned to the hard skills of entrepreneurship as much as the soft skills of collaboration, communication, and working in harmony with other artists and entrepreneurs.
This childhood experience of the process, from sourcing to developing to selling, gave Tiffany and Renee a firsthand knowledge of what it would take to build their own branch of the family business. They had seen kimono in their travels to Asia and, as adults, they were inspired by the beauty and tradition of those pieces to the point where they finally asked themselves, “How could we make a traditional kimono work for the modern woman?”
As Tiffany and Renee considered their question, “How can we make a traditional kimono work for a modern woman?” they decided to take the same elements of traditional kimono — their versatility, importance to the family, and kimono fabric — and weave those elements into a modern kimono robe. The best parts of the traditional Japanese kimono were also elements the Tam sisters believed modern women craved: luxurious kimono fabrics to make you feel beautiful and versatility to work as an everyday garment. Using the history of kimono and inspiration from vintage Asian art, they set out to build their line of kimono robes that you could wear at every stage of your life. From your wedding day, to your pregnancy bathrobe, to your nursing gown, to an everyday lightweight layer or jacket for important events, your kimono robe transforms as your life transforms. It’s a piece that you will stitch your own story into and pass down for generations to come.
One of the loveliest shapes of traditional kimono is expressed in the kimono sleeve. For our modern kimono robes, we’ve brought that heritage and tradition into the design. Most of our kimono sleeves are cut to be three quarter length to fall above your wrists. Because we don’t use shoulder seams, those sleeves will fall slightly differently on everyone, making your kimono robe an absolute original depending on the shape of your beautiful body. Choosing a seamless shoulder design gives each piece a more fluid drape, uniquely falling on your body and fitting you like a glove. Whether you have broader or narrower shoulders, you can be sure that without the seams, you’ll be able to comfortably let the soft silk fall over your shoulders without squeezing into the kimono robe.
At KIM+ONO, we believe the modern woman is a work of art and her own beauty should shine in every moment. You are constantly changing and shifting, adapting to what’s new, and bringing your own flair and style to your life. Each day, you are bringing something new to life. This is a kind of art, and artistry is something we value almost above all else. Renee and Tiffany have worked with the same family of artisans to help bring this kind of attention to detail and craftsmanship into each handpainted piece. Your modern kimono robe is as unique as you are, offering a piece that looks just as good hanging as it does being worn. The handpainting process takes seven days from start to finish. It begins with sketching the design by hand, then saturating it in rich watercolors with a traditional paintbrush. That’s why each handpainted piece is slightly different. It’s not just an item of clothing, it’s a work of art — just like you.
The best parts of the traditional Japanese kimono are also elements we believe modern women crave: luxurious kimono patterns and fabrics, and the versatility of wearing them in and out of the home. Using the history of kimonos and inspiration from vintage Asian art, Tiffany and Renee designed patterns for straight and plus size kimono robes that could work as a kimono jacket over jeans, a maxi kimono robe to pair with a dress, or simply a piece to lounge in around the house. As Tiffany and Renee considered the underlying question of their business, “How can we make a traditional kimono work for a modern woman (and man)?” they knew that the historical elements of versatility, quality fabrics, modern designs, and inclusive sizing, were the elements that could bring history into the present moment for something truly magical.
You have shown us just how beautiful each kimono robe can be from your photos and stories online to your conversations with us in store. The way you wear your kimono robes constantly inspires us and we are so grateful to be able to bring you a little more beauty and joy to your every day.