AP -- For thousands of years, Japan's kimono-makers have used paintbrushes and stencils to painstakingly create their works of wearable art, and a traditional kimono's price reflects that effort -- a nice kimono can easily cost between $2,700 and $10,000 for a garment that is worn only on ceremonial occasions. Wht if things go digital?
Innovative kimono designer Yuko Iwakuma uses a high-tech approach, which substitutes a computer and ink-jet printer to create bold new designs that she sells on the Internet for about $600. "I don't want to make kimonos that are so extravagant," says Iwakuma. "I want people to use them daily and enjoy."
Iwakuma's concepts venture far outside the traditional flower and bird designs to feature such characters as puppies, apples, keyboards and even playing card kings and queens.
Meanwhile, Masako Nakae, an official at All Japan Kimono Promoting Association, says she's hoping the availability of digitally produced kimonos will lure younger women to trying them out. But her real hope is that they will then graduate on to "the real thing."
"Digital kimono are not the same as handmade kimono. They are two different things. It's like the difference between T-shirt and jeans and a formal suit," says Nakae.
AP -- "Ancient Art of Kimono-Making Gets High-Tech Twist" via NewsScan