Introducing… kay me’s yukata dresses

As we’re moving towards the summer season here in Japan, there’s no better way to celebrate the sunny days than with our beautiful new yukata-style dresses… with a special secret that’s hiding in plain sight.

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For those not familiar with yukata, think of it as a light and airy cousin to the formal silk kimono. Typically made from natural fibres and depicting bright seasonal prints and patterns, yukata have come back into fashion with many people from all generations choosing to wear these robes at casual summer events.

According to Yuko from the kay me atelier team, “Our theme is summer festivals, and there are always lots of summer events in Tokyo. Because I’m impatient, I wanted to be able to wear a yukata-style dress quickly without any struggles.”

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Enter our new yukata dresses, a great way to capture the freshness and elegance of Japanese yukata without having to worry about the complexities of traditional Japanese clothing. Rather than painstakingly tying and retying knots and bows, simply zip up and go!

With kay me founder and lead designer Junko Kemi’s family connection to traditional kimono and Japanese garments (her grandmother famously owned and ran a kimono boutique in Osaka), authentic Japanese prints are always popular both in Japan and overseas with our lovely customers around the world.

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As for our little secret… if you look closely, you might find a special goldfish hidden amongst the flowing brushstrokes…

How to create your own office uniform

Dressing for the Monday to Friday life is just another task for some, no matter how much you love style and clothing, and creating your own version of a work uniform can help ease the morning stress.

Read on for kay me stylists’ tips and our examples…

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Find your favourites

On a busy day, what’s the outfit you reach for first? The one that makes you feel comfortable and stylish, putting your best foot forward and ready to take on whatever comes your way. This forms the backbone of your new uniform – why waste time with anything else.

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If you’re having trouble with this step, then ask yourself a few key questions: do you prefer dresses or separates? Which colours form the majority of your closet? Solid colours are easier to wear together, but if you’re a fan of prints such as polka dots, florals or stripes, then let those guide your choices.

Seasonal styles

How seasonal are your choices? Is your uniform suitable for both colder and hotter months? How can you adapt your clothing to meet your needs?

Okay, that’s a lot of questions to start with, but these are important considerations. Seasonal coordinations might mean swapping skirt for trousers in similar colours, thicker stockings and warm underdresses in winter in the northern hemisphere, and looser tops with airy scarves in warmer months.

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Multiples and Variations

A uniform isn’t a uniform if everything it totally different – but how you create your structure is up to you.

For example, if the core of your new uniform is a navy dress and matching jacket, then one option would be other navy dresses and jackets in various fabrics – consider our navy venus drape dress or pure wool jacket. For variety, you might prefer kay me cache-coeur dresses in navy polka dot or prints paired with similar jackets in white, grey or beige.

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Wash and wear

For many, while the idea of a work uniform really appeals, the greatest stumbling block is washing. Needless to say, all kay me items are machine washable, drip-dry and non-iron, as well being crease-resistant. Our fabrics have been specially selected to work with you all day long, and as every piece is handmade right here in Japan we’re involved in the whole production process from start to finish.

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Ready to create your own uniform?

For office-ready outfits, take a look at our super suits category, and for dresses in every colour of the rainbow, discover all kay me dresses here.

Five Japanese Woman Artists from Different Disciplines

At the kay me atelier in Tokyo, we love being inspired by nature and the culture that surrounds us every day – and we’re not the only ones.

As a label founded by Junko Kemi specifically to meet the needs of busy and ambitious women globally, we also love to celebrate creative and inspiring women here in Japan.

Keep reading for a quick look at five artists working in styles and disciplines that have caught our eyes…

Yayoi Kusama

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Known worldwide for her installation and dot-infested paintings as well as performance, film and other areas, Kusama’s personal style is just as bright and bold as her unique artwork.

One of Japan’s most famous living woman artists, the newly opened museum in her honour in Tokyo is a must for dedicated fans.

Oi (Ei) Katsushika

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Although famous for being the daughter of legendary ukiyo-e printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (The Great Wave, Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji), Katsushika was a more than accomplished artist and well-regarded in her own right.

Working in the late 19th century, as well as helping her father, Katsushika created her own artwork including paintings and prints, although sadly none of the latter have survived.

Rinko Kawauchi

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Working in the medium of photography, Kawauchi’s style is sometimes characterised as abstract and serene, with an eye for simple subjects that elevate the every day into true art.

As well as regularly publishing photography books and exhibiting around the globe, Kawauchi is also a haiku poet.

Riyoko Ikeda

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With legions of fans around the world, manga comic artist Ikeda tackles timeless themes usually in hostorical settings including revolutionary France.

One of the artists that came to define shoujou girls manga for a generation and beyond, Ikeda’s dreamy art is here to stay.

Makiko Hattori

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Based in Gifu Japan, Hattori explores the ancient Japanese art of ceramics and aims to create new forms through her painstaking processes, rooted in but far beyond mingei, folk arts.

From decorative objects to functional vases, Hattori’s ceramics have been exhibited worldwide, and also she also peforms “sounds objects” with a music group.

Inspired by art:

Taking inspiration from the artists above, we’ve paired their artwork with kay me dresses to match!

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Naturally for Yayoi Kusama we had to choose polka dots, and to pay homage to Oi Katsushika our beautiful 100% silk Toki Michelle dress is an elegant and authentically Japanese choice.

Our Aurora wrap is a perfect match for this striking photograph by Rinko Kawauchi, and our silk Black Rose dress is a great nod to Riyoko Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles work, with the tactile fabric of our new pink shirtdress calling to mind the delicate textures and tones of Makiko Hattori’s ceramics.

For further reading and to discover more fantastic women artists from Japan, take a look at articles here and here

Three ways to wear suit jackets this spring

If you’re in need of some inspiration for what to wear to work this spring and summer, then look no further – we’ve rounded up our three favourite ways to wear a suit jacket for the office this spring.

Needless to say that our suit jackets aren’t limited to workwear; kay me stylists love to pop on our soft and stretchy jackets over any dress as a formal extra layer, and even with their own causal clothing such as jeans at the weekend and on vacations.

Matching Pastels

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We love soft pastel colours for spring, there’s no better time to wear these pretty shades that remind us of cherry blossom petals, blue skies and warm breezes.

Discover our matching suits in pink, light grey and beige, and pair with matching light colour kay me tops for the finishing touch.

With Prints

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Give yourself a boost with bright florals – our pothos green print is colourful and eye-catching, great for standing out and making a striking first impression. If you’re feeling green, then also consider our dalmatian print venus drape dress, perfect with an elegant light jacket.

For a more traditional look, try our pretty polka dot dress in navy, a versatile dress that’s just as stylish in the office as days out and about in the city.

In Contrast

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Change things up by pairing a dark jacket with a light dress and vice-versa – a simple trick that works so beautifully! kay me stylists can often be spotted in this style, showing that a well-cut jacket is always a good investment.

This style doesn’t have to be limited to dresses – try mixing and matching our skirts as well for extra adaptable looks.

Discover kay me’s seven colour suits, and get creative with your workwear and beyond…

The enduring appeal of cherry blossom

Here in Tokyo, yet again we’ve been anxiously glued the the cherry blossom forecast, with the peak predicted to hit around the end of March in the Kanto region. But why do we love these delicate little flowers so much?

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Cherry blossom ( sakura), cousin to the early-appearing and more richly coloured plum blossom, has long been seen in Japan as a metaphor for the transience of life, the pale and fragile petals quickly falling to the ground almost as soon as they bloom.

It’s no wonder that this imagery has given inspiration to countless poets, as it’s a sight to inspire even the most stony-hearted.

kay me staff love to spot the tiny chartreuse-green mejiro, Japanese white-eye, birds sitting among the branches – if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan this month, see if you can spot one too!

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The highlight of spring sakura season for many people is hanami, or cherry blossom viewing picnic, under the trees, usually in park and with friends, family or coworkers.

Needless to say that with drinks both hard and soft flowing it’s a chance not only to wax lyrical about sakura and the coming spring but also to appreciate the people we surround ourselves with.

To celebrate one of our favourite flowers, here’s a charming haiku written by Matsuo Basho around the 17th century:

Very brief –

Gleam of blossoms in the treetops

On a moonlit night.

If you’re in the mood for all things pink thanks to our flutter with sakura, take a look at our pink dress gallery, and our unique Japonism prints inspired by authentic Japanese kimono.

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Top five easy-care clothing for the office and days off

With spring in the air, we’re always searching for ways to spend more time on things we enjoy rather than getting stuck with loads of dry cleaning and pretty but impractical clothes. Enter our top five favourite fuss-free items for work and weekends – one of Junko Kemi’s main needs when founding kay me was clothing that was fully machine washable, drip-dry and non-iron, as well as being stylish and comfortable.

Read on for our fabulous five…

In the office

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Navy daily dress, Light grey flare skirt, Vanilla macaron twist top, Navy trousers, White bolero jacket

Look smart and totally put together in a flash with our office ready tops, bottoms and dresses. Our navy daily dress is always popular here in Tokyo, and it’s easy to see why – the ribbon tie at the waist adds a charming finishing touch. New to kay me, our navy trousers are stretchy and easily washable, simply pop in the washing machine after a long week and hang to dry, ready to be worn again!

kay me stylists love pairing these items together in different combinations for mornings when time is of the essence.

Out and about

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Pink shirt dress, White bolero knit, Plume sack dress, Off-white cache-coeur knit, Light grey flare dress

Wear light colours without fear of stains, smudges or expensive cleaning bills! Our plain and printed dresses are also easy to look after, with our special printing techniques ensuring that colours stay bolder and sharper for longer. Available from mid-March 2018, our Plume and flare dresses are made from soft luxuriously thick fabric with a lovely weight and drape. Our made-in-Japan knitwear is of course also machine washable and made from super soft wool that keeps your warm and cozy.

We think you’ll agree that both our top fives would made a charming travel capsule for a trip that combines business and pleasure – count us in!

Event Report: kay me talk show with andu amet’s Hiroko Samejima

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Long time kay me blog readers might remember our wonderful interview with andu amet founder Hiroko Samejima.

Hiroko founded andu amet in 2012, a high-end brand specialising in producing luxury handbags made in Ethiopia by locally trained and supported artisans, using quality Ethiopian sheepskin.

kay me stylist Yoko gives us a glimpse into our recent talk show held at our Shinjuku store and members club, with Hiroko in conversation with kay me founder Junko Kemi…

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Hi everyone, it’s Yoko from kay me Shinjuku!

Lat month we held a special talk event with andu amet founder Hiroko. Prior to the talk show, andu amet items were on show here at our Shinjuku store and guests could touch for themselves the super soft sheepskin and see all the lovely colours and designs. All the kay me stylists and I were so excited.

For the event, we prepared drinks and nibbles and Junko Kemi even specially selected which wine to serve!

As we don’t use a podium for our talks, the speaker and audience are closer, creating a more connected atmosphere.

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Hiroko gave us great insight into working as a founder and manager in Ethiopia and shared a lot of advice.

We received a lot of questions, and time flew by!

As part of the audience, I felt so lucky to hear this talk session between two designs and founders.

I think many people are now considering entrepreneurship!

After the event, Hiroko and Junko both exchanged business cards and networked with the audience, and as a stylist I loved pairing kay me items with andu amet accessories.

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Our next session with a new guest speaker will be at the end of March, and I can’t wait!

Until next time… Yoko.

Scarf styling, from kay me

To celebrate the launch of our beautiful new stole collection from kay me Select, we’ve put together our three favourite ways to style a scarf, from simple to slightly complex.

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In the name of making the most of your scarves, knowing a few quick ways to tie a scarf can give your outfit a totally different look…

Style one: simple loop

A great style that works with all kay me scarves, fold your scarf in half, wrap around the neck and tuck the ends through the loop.

Style two: ribbon loop

kay me stylists love this easy stole trick! Similar to the simple loop, fold the scarf in half and wrap around the neck. This time, instead of tucking of the ends all the way through, pull through halfway and arrange the second loop to create a pretty bow-like effect.

Style three: rolled loop

Add an upgrade to any outfit with this elegant style. Start with a shorter length of scarf on one side and wrap the longer length around the neck to create a loose loop. Ensure the ends of the scarf fall evenly, and tuck through the loop at the front. Pull the ends a little for a tighter look or leave loose.

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Handwoven in India by expert artisans working in a top atelier, kay me Select stoles have been specially chosen in person by founder Junko Kemi.

Junko can be spotted wearing a kay me Select on most days, and uses them not only to keep warm in air-conditioned offices and spaces, but also to protect from UVA rays in cars and taxis, and also to add lovely splash of colour whatever the weather.

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Made from 100% pure cashmere and silk blends with delicate lace, beading and foil print details, discover kay me Select scarves available now.

Print Story – Florals

Hi everyone, it’s Yuko from the kay me atelier team here again!

Today I’m giving you a little preview of our flower print that will be released later this week…

It’s almost March already, spring is just around the corner, and we’re really in the mood for florals. The flower shops here in Tokyo look so beautiful and fresh.

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Our key word for this spring is 満喫 (mankitsu) meaning “fully enjoy” – we want you to fully enjoy spring with kay me!

I’ve been planning a whole flower print festival so you can find your favourite flower print.

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We recently held a talk event at our Shinjuku store, and Junko Kemi, kay me’s founder, wore this yellow print – it was very popular with her audience. We’ve also made a version with pretty blue gradation flowers on a pink background, and I imagined a sandy beach for these colours.

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How about wearing our green flowers for meetings or presentations? The bright colour feels fresh and helps you stand out. Keep an eye out for more variations of our beautiful blooms coming soon!

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For our flower festival, Junko asks “which flower would you like to wear?

I’d like to wear all of them!

How about you?

Looking forward to next time… Yuko.

Three Ways to Wear Navy for Work

Navy is one of our favourite neutrals, adding warmth and depth to any outfit. kay me stylists like to recommend pairing navy with white and pink for spring and summer, and grey and jewel tones for autumn and winter. But how about for the office?

If you’re searching for a way to incorporate more navy into your work wardrobe, then look no further…

1. Solid colour dresses

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The foundation of a functional closet, solid colour dresses in navy can be worn in countless ways – simply change up accessories such as necklaces and scarves, as well as jackets in matching or contrasting colours.

Find kay me dresses such as our sack, cache-coeur, waist-gathered and Venus drape dresses, all pictured above, in a variety of cuts to suit every style, each handmade in Tokyo by artisans working with years of experience.

2. Docking dresses

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Contrast is the name of the game for our docking dresses, a way to wear navy that combines the look of a skirt and top in one easy to wear and wash dress. Our Office Animal dress features a loose-fitting top in pink and navy animal print, and our navy leopard dress has an asymmetric skirt with crossover hem. Pair both with matching navy jackets for an office-appropriate look with a healthy splash of style.

Add interest and extra colour to our navy and white docking and milano rib dresses – see our selection of handwoven scarves specially chosen by kay me’s Junko Kemi.

3. Suits and outerwear

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A classic navy suit will always be a worthwhile investment, and naturally we have a wonderful variety of workwear designed by and for busy women on the go. Our new trousers are stretchy and comfortable, and the perfect partners for our range of suit jackets in three lengths. For cool days, try our rich pure wool jacket which combines warmth and practicality with elegant tailoring.

For an extra layer in cold weather, our stretch wool coat in navy with flared A-line skirt and hidden snaps keeps out the chill while the strong seams enhance the design.