At the heart of KIM+ONO is family. Our co-founders are also sisters, and Renee and Tiffany Tam have woven that love of family and tradition into each and every design. The Tam sisters grew up watching their parents work hard in Chinatown, as they ran a business, raised a family, and instilled a work ethic into their daughters that brought KIM+ONO to life decades later. Renee and Tiffany’s vision for KIM+ONO isn’t just influenced by their immediate family, but by their family’s Asian heritage as well. And this month, we are celebrating that Asian heritage with a deeper look into our founders’ family history, their families’ Chinese and Japanese cultures, and how each and every modern kimono robe celebrates the heritage of which they are so proud.
As women of color who are not immune to the conflation and appropriation of their cultures, Renee and Tiffany Tam have been thoughtful and intentional in how they’ve woven their own cultures into these new modern day pieces. We do not “replicate” traditional Japanese kimono; instead, our kimono robes are inspired and influenced by the rich history behind these traditional garments. The sisters had moving experiences with these pieces as little girls, and the beauty and symbolism of the traditional Japanese kimono stayed with them as adults when they took over their family business and started designing their modern kimono robes, plus size kimono robes, and pieces in the kimono style for the modern woman.
This blend of family heritage, lived experience with the traditional garment, and their own modern design aesthetic is at the core of their mission to bring more beauty into the world in each and every design. From their Asian heritage and from witnessing the craftsmanship of traditional Japanese kimono as little girls, they’ve taken the significant elements that mean so much to them and infused every modern design with the symbolism that has been a keystone of their heritage. Today in the journal, we’re talking all about that symbolism, so you can find for yourself the perfect piece to celebrate the traditional Japanese kimono, our modern kimono style designs, and Asian heritage in general. Read on for more:
Traditionally, the cherry blossom in Chinese culture represents renewal. The cherry blossom is the flower of spring, and of course within Japanese culture, the cherry blossom is the official arbiter of spring. This year, in fact, the cherry blossoms peaked the earliest recorded — March 26 — in the last 1200 years! But whether they bloom in March or April or May, these beautiful flowers represent a time of renewal and the fleeting nature of life, as they don’t stay for long. We’ve designed the cherry blossom into several of our kimono style robes. From our Handpainted Silks to our plus size kimono robes, the cherry blossom deserves a spotlight as one of the most important symbolic elements in Asian culture and heritage. Renee and Tiffany have used a modern aesthetic of minimal, feminine, and airy designs against the backdrop of silk and charmeuse to create modern kimono robes that feel as beautiful on your skin as you’ll look when wearing them. Each time you slip into your cherry blossom piece, remember that life works in cycles, remember to cherish the moment you’re in, and remember that beauty is all around you.
The lotus is one of our favorite symbols. Whether you’re slipping into a handpainted kimono style robe or one of our plus size kimono robes, the lotus is your reminder to reinvent yourself. Like the saying goes, “no mud, no lotus”. The lotus symbolizes self-regeneration, purity, enlightenment, and a rebirth of sorts. If cherry blossoms represent cycles and renewal, the lotus represents the inner strength that can help move you through and toward a time of renewal. Renee and Tiffany work with craftspeople to saturate our Handpainted Silk Lotus design with the handcrafted techniques they learned as little girls. As children, the sisters traveled to China’s Silk Village to witness with their own young eyes the traditional Japanese kimono being crafted from start to finish. That love for quality artisan work stayed with them for their entire lives, and served as the basis for their own rebirth when they opened KIM+ONO online and in store. This is the perfect piece for you if you’re ready to have your own sort of rebirth. Slip into a lotus kimono style and wrap up in the knowledge that like the lotus, you can come through anything.
Some of our most popular pieces contain some of the most beautiful symbolism. Our best selling Peony & Butterfly Kimono Robe, which comes in Charmeuse, Washable Silk, and as a plus size kimono robe, represents beauty in all forms. No matter how you wear the Peony & Butterfly, it symbolizes the beauty that’s all around you and within you. The Peacock represents love, good will, nurturing, and a kind heart. Our Handpainted Silk Peacock Kimono Robe is such a gorgeous modern kimono robe design, but it also deeply meaningful, as the peacock is a symbol of unabashed love and kindness. The crane you see in this kimono style robe is a perfect piece to give as a gift, as it represents happiness, longevity, and good fortune. A perfect birthday gift or something extra luxurious for the holidays! And finally, for the person in your life you look up to with admiration and respect, the iris flower in our Yuri design (in both one size fits most and plus size kimono robes) symbolizes royalty and wisdom. If you slip into this modern kimono robe yourself, let it remind you of the queen you are.
Our founders’ Asian heritage of both Chinese and Japanese cultures has infused every single element of our modern kimono style robes. From the shape and cut of the material to the symbolic designs and luxurious fabric, each inch of your piece is designed with intention, thoughtfulness, and heritage. Our wish for you is that each time you wear one of these pieces, you feel connected to Asian heritage and celebrate the beauty of symbolism that has been passed down for centuries and generations.