The last days of summer are upon us; what better way to celebrate the hot sultry nights than wearing a light, colorful piece of Japanese fashion for your Facebook, Instagram or TikTok followers? Or are you lacking a culturally appropriate outfit for your temple’s virtual bon dance or for the upcoming Virtual Okinawan Festival? The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i Gift Shop shows its appreciation for stylish members of the Nikkei community, as well as for all lovers of traditional Japanese fashion, with a “40%-off-Kimono” sale from Aug. 1 to Aug. 29.
Of course, you will find a gorgeous selection of modern and classical kimono (traditional, full-body formal wear) at the JCCH Gift Shop. But also for sale are obi (artisanal woven or fabric belts), yukata (more informal, shorter and lighter tops, with stiffer collars, compared to kimono — and thus perfect summer wear!) and happi (coats or jackets commonly shorter than yukata, historically worn by anyone regardless of rank) that have been gently used in beautiful colors and patterns.
Or perhaps you see yourself as not merely a clothing consumer, but rather, a fashion designer fixing to become the next Anne Namba, Montsuki or Pitacus brand (see annenamba.com, kaimukihawaii.com/news/201701/10480.html or instagram.com/pitacuschopart/?hl=en)? Then come bring your couturier’s imagination along, as you scour the store for bargains…and envision these whole pieces cut up then reintegrated into your original designs! Who knows: you may evolve into the next Ari South, Summer Shiigi or Manaola Yap — global style talent from our modest island chain!
While visiting the JCCH store, why not also pick up a copy of immigrant-fashion scholar Barbara F. Kawakami’s “Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii: 1885-1941” (not on sale but a reasonable $28).
The former dressmaker, who became an academic in her 50s, included historical images of issei clothing in this 1993 cultural classic.
The Gift Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (2454 S. Beretania St.). Free two-hour parking validation is provided with a $10 purchase. For more information, call (808) 945-7633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.