Invisible Mending: The Magic of Kimono Restoration

May 21, 2019 - May 21, 2019
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Tuesday, May 21, 6:30 PM

Some might see a tear or stain on a beautiful kimono and think the garment can never be restored to its former glory. But Japan’s kimono restoration artisans aim to do just that. These master craftsmen can make small holes seem to disappear as though they never existed, and completely transform discolored garments. High-end apparel makers around the world have taken note, and are now applying these techniques to conserving Western fashions like suits and gowns. At this talk, Koshiro Tatematsu of kimono restoration service Chojiya unravels some of the mysteries behind these fascinating mending techniques, and reveals how they’re being used in the fashion world today. Kimono restoration artisans Yoshiko Goto and Minako Mizuochi will show off some of these fascinating techniques first-hand in on-stage demonstrations.

Followed by a reception.

Tickets: $15/$12, members, seniors & students

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Koshiro Tatematsu is the Director of kimono restoration shop Chojiya, LLC., which has been in operation for 128 years. He will be the fourth generation of his family to run the business.

After graduating college and working in another business for a while, Tatematsu began working at a textile retailer in Iwate prefecture, his wife’s hometown, which had been affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The following year, in conjunction with local beauty salons in the disaster-stricken areas, he started a kimono rental business for Japan’s Coming-of-Age-Day celebrations for people who had previously abandoned the celebrations because of the disaster.

Tatematsu then returned to his hometown, where he became Director of Chojiya and started up the e-Commerce site Kimono Totonoe in order to pass on traditional kimono restoration techniques to the next generation; he has since completed approximately 60,000 orders from all over Japan. Having received many requests from outside Japan, he is expanding his services to an international scale this year.

Born in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, Yoshiko Goto began studying kaketsugi techniques under her father, the kaketsugi craftsman Tesshu Kataoka, when she was in high school. She has been practicing officially as a kaketsugi artisan since she was 20 years old.

The primary characteristic of her technique is successfully making repairs after creating designs from constructions of differing materials and analyzing them. Through these methods, she repairs torn fabrics as if by magic.

Her unflagging efforts at improving her technique and her spirit of inquiry have brought joy and hope to many customers with damaged kimono and other clothes around the world.

Minako Mizuochi was born in the city of Tokamachi, in Niigata prefecture. She grew up in one of the snowiest parts of Japan, surrounded by the sounds of weaving, and even studied textiles and clothing in high school.

Aspiring to work with kimono in some capacity, she took a job at a factory that specialized in kimono repair. After gaining some broad experience in kimono maintenance, she began specializing in the artisanal restoration of craftworks.

At the core of her color conservation work is the importance of understanding how the original fabric, design, and colors were combined; and, since it is a highly difficult technique that requires both skill and sense, she continues each day to diligently work at further improving her craft.

  • May 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm