Every company has an origin story. For KIM+ONO, our origin story goes back decades right alongside the history of the Tam family itself. And because traditional Japanese kimono have been the inspiration behind our modern floral kimono robes, you could even say our origin story extends past our own family to celebrate and honor the history of the kimono itself.
Renee and Tiffany, the sister duo now behind the brand, were first allured by kimono as little girls. Together with their parents, they spent weeks visiting silk villages, meeting with vendors, artisans, and other craftsmen who have been preserving the art of kimono-making for generations. The Tam sisters learned all about the history of traditional Japanese kimono in their travels. Japanese kimono are typically what you might think of when you think of kimono, but those Japanese kimono were heavily influenced by Han Chinese clothing worn during the Chinese Qing Dynasty. While the influences from both countries created different patterns and features, the kimono fabric has traditionally been made of satin weaves or silk. As the sisters learned more about Japanese kimono and grew older, they became more involved in the family business, eventually taking it over in 2004. Since then, Renee and Tiffany continue to infuse a modern aesthetic, paired with timeless techniques, to craft beautiful, everyday kimono robes.
At this time of year, celebrating the story of our floral kimono robes—how they began in celebration of the traditional kimono, became artistic, expressive pieces created by two sisters, and are then infused with your own story every time you wear your floral kimono robe—brings us back to what matters most: heritage, tradition, and breathing new life into each day. So this week in the journal, we’re sharing the story of the traditional Japanese kimono and celebrating how you’ve infused your kimono style with your own beautiful stories.
According to Culture Trip, by the Kamakura Period, the traditional Japanese kimono were an everyday look that many people wore and the “art of kimono-making” became a highlighted trade during the Edo Period a few hundred years later, lasting until the late 1800s. These kimono also became family heirlooms — passed down from generation to generation. When Tiffany and Renee stepped into the family business to make it the brand it is today, they asked themselves, “How can we make a traditional kimono work for a modern woman?” They decided to celebrate and center the elements of the traditional kimono — their versatility, importance to the family, and kimono fabric — and weave them into a modern kimono robe that could work for the modern woman (and man!).
These qualities of the traditional Japanese kimono were also elements the Tam sisters believed modern women craved: luxurious kimono fabrics and versatility to work as an everyday garment. Inspired by the history of kimono and beautiful images from vintage Asian art, the sisters designed something new: their own line of modern floral kimono robes.
Whether you love to wear your kimono style at home, over lingerie or as a bathrobe, or you choose to drape your floral kimono cardigan over your favorite pair of jeans and t-shirt, your kimono style is a wonderful way to express yourself. This year, we have seen and celebrated how you’ve stepped more fully into who you are and simultaneously made space for others to do the same. This is a beautiful way to weave your story into your own kimono robe: let it be an expression of your truest, most authentic, most confident self.
We love being tagged in your posts on social media, because so often, you are telling a story about how the path you’ve taken may not have been what you expected, but it still brought you to exactly where you should be. That was true when Christina Long shared this beautiful story of her life direction while draped in this beautiful floral kimono cardigan. Sometimes kimono style is just the thing to highlight and underline your accomplishments, big and small. Whether you are pursuing your dreams or you simply got out of bed today, life can be a winding road, and honoring that path with a floral kimono robe that makes you slow down and breathe a little deeper, can feel amazing.
It’s clearer than ever that this has been a challenging year all around. And yet, we’ve seen you come through the story of this year with resilience, gratitude, and yes, even happiness. Building morning routines into your day to help you stay aligned and grounded, even during the hardest parts of the year has been so inspiring to us. We love Nick Onken’s men's kimono style and his routine ways to build in happiness to his every day. During the hardest times, imbuing your floral kimono robe with a sense of happiness and resilience because you’ve used it in the routines that uplift you is a beautiful story to give it.
We’ve always known that a floral kimono robe made of silk or charmeuse can bring so much joy to a new mother’s day. That’s because many of us at KIM+ONO are mothers of young children, too! Those little moments that you give to yourself turn out to be the big ones: sipping your coffee first thing in the morning, rocking your newborn to sleep, nursing, or just winding down at the end of the day. These are the ways you write your story of motherhood into your kimono style—remembering how it felt to be exhausted and happy during those good old days—and we’ve loved seeing how you’ve celebrated your journey into motherhood, even during this trying year.
Tiffany and Renee’s value of handcrafted heritage lives in every piece they offer, from every lightweight floral kimono cardigan to plus size kimono robe. So next time you pick out your very own modern kimono robe, you can be sure there was an origin story, history, and generations of inspiration woven right into the fabric, making it as unique as you. And you can be certain that each and every time you wear it, you will write your own story right into the piece.