Japan beyond the Kimono: Innovation and Tradition in the Kyoto Textile Industry by Jenny Hall (Monash University, Australia)
In the ancient city of Kyoto, contemporary artisans and designers are using heritage techniques and traditional clothing aesthetics to reinvent wafuku (Japanese clothing, including kimono) for modern life. Japan beyond the Kimono explores these shifts, highlighting developments in the Kyoto fashion industry such as its integration of digital weaving and printing techniques and the influence of social media on fashion distribution systems. Through case studies of designers, artisans, and retailers, Jenny Hall provides a comprehensive picture of the reasons behind the production and consumption of these rejuvenated fashion goods. She argues that conceptualisations of Japanese tradition include innovation and change, which is vital to understanding how Japanese cultural heritage is both sustained and evolving. Essential reading for students and scholars of fashion, anthropology, and Japanese studies, Jenny Hall's sensory ethnography is the first of its kind, describing the lived experiences of people in the Kyoto textiles industry, explaining the renewal of traditional techniques and styles, and placing them both within contexts such as transnational 'craftscapes' and fast or slow fashion systems.