I come from a family steeped in Japanese traditions. Both my father and my grandfather were involved in designing and creating tea rooms and traditional Japanese houses. In my early years I was always making something out of wood in their workshop during weekends and school holidays. That meant I grew up surrounded by the idea of making things.
My mother has worked in the kimono industry for 25 years. (In fact she is still a full time kimono stylist, though well into her 70s.) Kimono culture is infused with a great many manners and behaviours, and it takes years to learn the right way everything should be done. For example, there are Komon kimonos (which have regular patterns) which are suitable for having lunch or going to the theatre. Then there are Iromuji kimonos (which are made from a plain coloured cloth) which are suitable for tea ceremonies. And then Houmongi kimonos (plain coloured, with areas with patterns) which would be suitable for an elegant dinner party or a wedding.
My mother taught me a great deal about kimono culture, and she has obviously been a huge influence. I should say that there are many many more varieties of kimono (summer kimono is see-through, so lingerie’s colours are planned, when you buy a summer kimono). What I have got out of it all is a great love for these fabrics, and a passion to introduce them to other people.