Saturday 18 May 2019

Kimono, kimono, kimono

Yesterday, after publishing my opinion that using the descriptor "kimono" is not an unacceptable cultural appropriation I was interested to hear the views of others, particularly anybody who disagreed. A number of readers did give feedback on my Boho Banjo Facebook page and all agreed with me that its an unconvincing point of view.

Over on Helens Closet blog I submitted the letter published in bold print on yesterdays blog. Helen had asked for people to give her feedback and the 10+ letters she published are all full of high praise for her decision to change the name of her pattern from Suki Kimono to Suki Robe. Not a single correspondent had a diverse point of view... Half a day after sending my piece I wrote Helen a private email to ask if she would let me know why she didn't publish my submission. 10 hours later as I write this she hasn't acknowledged either of my messages.

So, in the last six months 3 women designers who run small businesses have been severely criticised for using the term kimono in a pattern name. First there was the Wiksten Kimono which became the Wiksten Haori. Then Helens Closet Suki Kimono became the Suki Robe, Papercut patterns Kochi Kimono became the Kochi Coat. These businesses were all subjected to a barrage of angry emails demanding the word kimono be changed. Some of the writers described having links to Japanese culture by blood and marriage and others were European women supporters who believed they should channel righteous indignation on behalf of the BIPOC community.

I did read one well thought out and compelling post about why one woman felt strongly. Apart from what Emi Ito wrote in January (link in previous blog) Saki Jane wrote about her ideas and experiences as a Japanese American on Helens Closet blog. It is about the 6th post down.

In the last hour I had one of the people who strongly supports the view that using kimono is a cultural appropriation direct the comment to me that unless I'm Japanese I have no right to use the word to name anything I design. Still disagree....

I would welcome anybody who wants to express a counterpoint opinion to have a chat with me with a view to publish here. The only requirement is to be a credible argument/point of view expressed without abuse.

In the next week or so I shall get on with designing a new pattern. heh heh hehe *evil cackle* I was going to call this the Jorja Jacket but now I'm sorely tempted to call it Sencha Kimono....

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