The Design Process Behind Our Brand New Kimono Robe Design: The Jia

There is a famous illustration by filmmaker Tiffany Shlain famously that observes the creative process as it happens over ten distinct steps. The first step begins with The Hunch; where you have an inkling of an idea that could possibly turn into something. The process then moves to the stage she calls, Talk About It, where you tell your support network your idea and gather intel from a conversational exchange. Then comes The Sponge where you intake lots of inspiration from all the sources that creatively fill you up. Followed swiftly (and perhaps most famously!) by Confusion, which needs no explanation, and then of course, 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 Breakthrough 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 is the 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 floral kimono robe collection as strong, versatile, and beautiful as you are. And that has never been more true than with our brand new design: the Jia. This piece was created in collaboration with brilliant artist and friend Valerie Santillo. It’s been a silk kimono robe design in the making for awhile now, it comes inspired by our everyday life in San Francisco, our co-founders’ heritage, and has become something so personal and meaningful for us that we are just oh so thrilled to share it with you. We hope you love Jia as much as we do. Read on for all about the creative process and details of this beautiful real silk kimono robe.

KIM+ONO Kimono Store
Photo by Augie Chang
Design History: From Our Store to a Silk Kimono Robe

When we opened our brick and mortar kimono store in Chinatown, San Francisco, we knew we wanted a foundational artistic element to anchor our space and create a whole mood for our customers as they wandered in from the street. We settled on developing a beautiful mural on our back wall to accentuate the deep breath we want you to feel whenever you visit our kimono store, and to call back to the designs of our floral kimono patterns. With this goal in mind, we set to work and collaborated with our brilliant artist and friend Valerie Santillo, who created our in-store mural. Valerie’s mural is a cornerstone of our San Francisco shop. Forever inspired by art, we’ve decided to bring it to life, pairing Val’s cool and contemporary design with our fan favorite Washable Silk material, turning it into a piece of wearable art. It’s a design that feels inevitable, as it’s such a piece of our story. And now, no matter where you are, you can bring a little piece of unique artistry from our kimono store home with you! 

Washable Silk Jia Kimono Robe
Photo by Maria Del Rio
 
The Meaning Behind the Jia Kimono Robe

In Chinese, Jia stands for home, family and our sisterhood. For us, Jia represents home. Chinatown has always been our second home, so we wanted our brick and mortar store to feel like home to you as well, where you can take a deep breath and be inspired by beauty. When we commissioned the oh-so-talented Valerie Santillo to paint a floor-to-ceiling mural, we knew she would turn our space into a sanctuary. She hand drew the artwork and built the layers of colors stroke by stroke, and turned it into a gorgeous masterpiece that embodies the soul of KIM+ONO. You deserve a piece of this sanctuary because you are a part of our home — so we brought to life this silk robe for women (and men!) that can truly be a piece of wearable art for your closet. Our store, our business, our collaborations, and our inspiration are all woven into the Jia. And our biggest hope is that the meaning and story behind this silk kimono robe inspires you to share this piece with the sister (biological or chosen) in your life, to help you create your own sense of home, and remind you that inspiration is all around.

Washable Silk Jia Kimono Robe
Photo by Maria Del Rio
Design Elements of this Floral Kimono Robe

The artistry of the Jia Kimono Robe is twofold: it builds on Valerie’s beautiful in-store mural and it honors the artistry of the traditional Japanese kimono that have inspired our production process and designs for years. Our real silk kimono robe designs draw inspiration from various styles of traditional Asian brushwork, capturing the artistic principles of depth, contrast, space, and balance. And with our newest design, Jia, we wanted to capture that heritage in a brand new, contemporary design for the modern (wo)man. We pair this boundlessness of this design with the washable silk material you love, offering the height of elegance without sacrificing functionality in your everyday life. With the Jia, we honor our heritage, celebrate the now, and hope to make your home feel even more special each and every time you slip into this silk kimono robe. And as an added bonus — not only does this design come in a silk kimono robe, but also a matching eye mask! It makes it a perfect gift for your soul sister, or as a complement to your own brand new Jia, to make the most out of every blissfully calm moment. 

Washable Silk Jia Kimono Robe
Photo by Stephanie Russo

We hope you fall in love with Jia as much as we have, and feel connected to the way we celebrate our heritage and honor the present moment. If you aren’t able to come to San Francisco, we want a little piece of San Francisco to come to you. Our wish is that each time you slip into this floral kimono robe you feel confident, beautiful, and most importantly, at home.

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