My friend Maggie has always been passionate about fashion, design and sewing which led to a career as a fashion buyer for Marks & Spencer. Inspired by a family wedding which took place in Japan, Maggie has been collecting kimonos, both vintage and new for over 10 years. She has become very knowledgeable about oriental culture and as her collection of kimonos grew so did her understanding and appreciation of the traditional symbols and images used on them.
This knowledge of Japanese imagery and silk textiles has developed into an unusual “day job” as a kimono interpreter. It is so interesting listening to Maggie explaining a particular image or design and if, like me, you are tempted to become the owner of one of these beautiful items, it makes it even more special to know a bit about the culture behind it. I have a silk haori jacket which I wear belted and also a garment which is more like a coat but I wear that belted as a dress as I love the beautiful silk,the designs and the sleeves but prefer a fitted look.
Maggie fulfilled a long-standing dream last month and visited Japan where she met with suppliers and enjoyed the beauty of the kimono in its own surroundings. She has been newly inspired, made some new contacts , strengthened relationships with existing ones and returned with some more beautiful silks and yukata cottons in her luggage (excess baggage had to be paid of course!!)
Maggie has a shop in which she offers vintage kimono, Japanese silk and cotton fabric for use in dressmaking or crafts and also some items she has crafted herself by adapting the oriental culture to fit in with the western lifestyle.
I always find Maggie’s enthusiasm about Japan so infectious and I’ve encouraged her to start a blog because she has so many interesting things to say about Oriental culture in general, and kimonos in particular, that I think people will really enjoy reading it.