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Kimonos: the new evolution

Date Posted: 2002-01-10

The kimono has been evolving down through the ages; however, since changes often take place centuries apart, it often appears that the kimono is an unchanging garment and that the current form is its final form. In the past few years, the traditional garment worn only on special occasions has begun to take on a more modern appearance.

Though the current style appears to be permanent, young Japanese are beginning to take the traditional garment in some untraditional directions. Innovative materials are being used, and modernized styles are being interwoven with the traditional design to create something completely new. Some young women have begun to wear fashionable boots and shoes with their modern kimonos, rather than the traditional geta. The nape of the neck has become more visible, and some have dared to wear short-skirted modern interpretations of the kimono.

Many may ask whether or not this recent evolution has somehow tarnished these ceremonial garments, or if these new styles can even be classified as kimonos. The kimono has slowly been evolving for over a thousand years, sometimes in drastic ways, and it will continue to evolve in years to come. The new, stylish kimonos have modernized with the 21st century. Though different than before, they are a sign that the garment remains a vital, living and ever-evolving part of Japanese culture.

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