Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain famously illustrated that the creative process happens in ten distinct steps. It starts with The Hunch where there is an inception of an idea, and then moves to Talk About It, where you tell your support network your ides. Then comes The Sponge where you intake lots of inspiration. Followed swiftly by Confusion, which needs no explanation, and Just Step Away as the antidote to Confusion. After that, Shlain says you build “The Love Sandwich” where you get criticism couched in loving support from trusted friends, the Premature Breathroughlation when you celebrate a small breakthrough that will lead to the big one, and finally Revisit Your Notes and Know When You’re Done. Shlain says this creative process for everyone, no matter who you are and how much you’ve made and accomplished.
At KIM+ONO, the creative process works like it does for many creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs, and just like Shlain suggests. There’s a seed of inspiration, a lot of work, honing, editing, and crafting, and then finally, the product comes to life — which begets more inspiration and the whole process starts again. Each piece we create is with the modern woman in mind because we want to offer a kimono collection as strong, versatile, and beautiful as you are. We’re illuminating some of the thoughts in our creative process in a round up of the kimono robes below in the hopes that you enjoy their origin story as much as the feel and look of these favorites.
We design all of our kimono robes in house in San Francisco. The beginning of every design process starts with inspiration. And vintage Asian art is one place where inspiration abounds for us. In Chinese and Japanese art, “The Flowers of the Four Seasons” were prominent and ran throughout many artists and time periods. Those flowers were the orchid, representing spring; the lotus, representing summer; the chrysanthemum, representing autumn; and the plum blossom, representing winter. With the inspiration from the decades of beautiful sketches and drawings of chrysanthemums, we brought our own take on the beautiful hand-sketched design of the flower to life in the kimono pattern for our Silk Kiku Kimono Robe. With a beautiful purple backdrop and feminine pink petals on 100% silk, this is the ultimate in luxury. We hope it brings the touch of elegance and history that inspired it to every wardrobe.
Part of our silk collection of kimono robes includes the handpainted pieces that are a signature of our line. These gorgeous pieces are works of art whether they’re worn as a kimono outfit or displayed against a blank backdrop of a wall. The creative process starts taking shape from the start as we create the original patterns for each of these pieces, which are then sketched by hand, offering slight discrepancies between each piece as they are truly one of a kind. After the sketch is finalized, the kimono is saturated in rich watercolors using a traditional paintbrush, again drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese aesthetics. Because this is such an intricate process, our Handpainted Kimono Robe Collection is a special one. It’s important to care for your Handpainted Kimono Robe like a piece of wearable art — keeping it out of the washing machine and only gently hand-washing it when needed.
Founders and sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam use their own life experience and inspiration from ancient art to breathe life into every kimono pattern. But this season, the sisters wanted to bring even more modernity into the designs. That’s why their newest collection, including this beautiful black floral kimono robe, is all about minimalism. Renee says, “Our creative juices flow best when we unwind to our favorite music, focus on serenity, take deep breaths and allow our minds to be free…” and this is the creative state that gave them the idea for a minimalist take on the botanical beauties customers love. This collection focuses on the breath between the designs, making this black floral kimono robe a true delight. It’s simple design accentuates the petals of the florals and the whimsical, wandering shape of the flower, giving the kimono robe the sense of serenity and ease that’s often found in nature.
The Silk Kuren Kimono Robe has been a fan favorite for years, and as they say, “if it ain’t broke…” but when we had the chance to bring even more softness and pastel shades into the palette, we couldn’t resist. The mineral color of this kimono pattern is an elegant base for the birds and blooms of this style to pop. It’s easy and elegance on 100% silk, and the serenity and groundedness of the pastel palette brings this design to life.
With the velvet kimono sleeve detail that everyone loves, the Haruka Kimono Wrap updates a traditional look with a mix of materials and a beautiful drape that effortlessly flows on every body shape. When designing this kimono wrap, we wanted to bring the power of the color teal into sartorial conversation with the velvet trim that makes our kimono wraps so unique. It’s a balance of subtlety and strength that pulls from principles of art we love and continue to be inspired by.
The creative process can be up and down, with the highs of inspiration and the lows of doubt. For any artist, and for the artists who have inspired us, that’s certainly true. But we hope that knowing a little about how we choose palettes, kimono patterns, textures, and even how we bring our creative minds to the forefront, gives you more of an insight into the kimono robes you know and love. You can be sure, whichever kimono robe you choose, it was a piece that started with The Hunch and brought through the creative process by a team who loves these pieces as much as we hope you do.