Material story – Rayon

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

Today I’d like to tell you all about one of the fabrics we use here at kay me, rayon.

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So what is rayon made of? Starting with fibre (cellulose) contained in natural wood pulp, it’s chemically melted to make the soft fine fibres that make up rayon. Although it’s chemically made, modern rayon is strong and supple, as well as skin-friendly – feel cool in summer and warm in winter.

Believe it or not, it’s actually recommended to wear in the summer as it has a natural deodorising effect!

One of the reasons we choose to use this fabric is the rich lustre of top-quality rayon, and how well it can take colour meaning prints stay sharper and bolder for longer.

It also drapes beautifully, helping to show off the handmade tucks, pleats and drapes of our unique dress patterns.

Take a look at some of my favourite dresses available in rayon:

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(Aka-michelle waist-gathered dress, Monet waist-gathered dress, Comet drape dress, Lila waist-gathered dress)

Until next time… Yuko.

The eight-item wardrobes for work and weekends

Simplification is the name of the game today on the kay me blog – what could be better than a stylish, comfortable and ethically-made core wardrobe that works together in a variety of combinations?

Save time and energy to spend on what really matters to you by feeling secure that you already have beautiful clothing that covers many situations – whether you’re attending a conference, traveling by air or strolling in the city…

In the office

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(Navy bolero jacket, white cache-coeur knit, light grey chiffon top, vanilla twist top, navy pants, navy mermaid skirt, navy polka dot docking dress, silver scarf)

Combine classic navy foundation garments including a sharply tailored jacket, feminine skirt and matching trousers to make the most of your base wardrobe. Add tops in neutral colours for maximum repeat value, and create interest with our beautiful handmade scarf with silver foil detail and polka dot docking dress that can be worn alone or with the jacket or knit.

Morning meeting: navy bolero jacket + vanilla twist top + navy pants

Presentation followed by drinks: navy bolero jacket + navy polka dot docking dress + silver scarf

Greeting new coworkers: light grey chiffon top + navy mermaid skirt

Days off

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(Indigo riders jacket, baby pink parker, white square neck top, white designers t-shirt, navy long skirt, peach sleeveless dress, navy rib front zip dress, ice blue silk wool lace scarf)

Continuing with a navy and neutral palette, this time with a touch of pink as an accent, our sleeves dresses can be worn layered and dressed up with our stretchy Japanese indigo riders-style jacket and stunning silk wool scarf in ice blue with navy lace. Wear our long skirt with heels or sneakers for a versatile twist on a staple item, and apply the same styling trick to both dress too for work to weekend looks in an instant.

City brunch: peach sleeveless dress + indigo riders jacket

Weekend travel: baby pink parker + white designers t-shirt + navy long skirt

Casual evening date: navy rib front zip dress + indigo riders jacket

Mixing and matching across the two wardrobes creates an even larger array of possible combinations, such as…

Short business travel: navy bolero jacket + white square neck top + navy mermaid skirt + ice blue silk wool scarf

Business casual brainstorming: white cache-coeur knit + white designers t-shirt + navy pants

Birthday lunch with friends: white cache-coeur knit + peach sleeveless dress + silver scarf

Which outfits would you create from these items? The possibilities are almost endless…

Introducing… Design your own dress, with kay me

We’re very excited to announce our new special feature: it’s now possible to design your own custom dress on our international website!

After rolling out our new custom order feature in our Japanese stores and Japanese webshop, we’ve now brought the ability to design your own dress to our international customers around the world.

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So, how does it work?

After navigating to the “design your own dress” page, start by choosing from seven of our most popular dress patternsfor more on dress silhouettes, take a look at our recent blog. From our classic hourglass Venus Drape and fit-and-flare A-line cache-coeur to the universally flattering waist-gathered dress, there’s a style to suit every occasion.

Next, choose your size – please note that currently the design your own dress feature is only available in kay me standard sizing. Please feel free to enquire about sizing outside our current range.

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You can choose the length of your dress, too. Great for those with long torsos or shorter legs, or customers who wish for a dramatically different look to our standard patterns.

Then select your desired sleeve length, from sleeveless all the way through to long sleeves. With five sleeve length options, there’s plenty to choose from.

Finally, complete your custom dress by selecting the fabric. Currently available are five solid colours, including black, navy and pink, and eleven original kay me prints. Will you choose pretty florals, striking stripes or elegant polka dots? Our Japanese customers have told us this is the hardest step, narrowing down your final choice to just one combination. Of course, you can always order more than one dress…

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If you’d like to change your mind, easily navigate back to previous pages and refine your selection.

After confirming your final choice, your dream dress with then be painstakingly handmade by the kay me atelier team working in Tokyo, and will be delivered to your door within three to four weeks.

Creating your own dress has never been so simple. Become your own kay me designer today – and don’t forget to share the results with us using #kay me on Instagram.

 

Three ways to wear florals in the office

Here at the kay me atelier in Tokyo, we love to wear our inspiration from nature quite literally on our sleeves. Florals are such a pretty choice on any day of the work week, and varying prints and colours can provide plenty of different styles to choose from.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to wear florals at work…

As a dress that takes charge

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Stand out from the crowd in our dresses with a difference: designed specially for those on the go, our workwear is cut to flatter your natural figure, as well as being crease-resistant and easy to look after.

Pick bold green and black with our Pothos daily dress with waist tie, or unusual fabrics with our London-inspired Holland Park dress in light chiffon. For a touch of Japanese elegance, our playful Goldfish print in navy hits the right balance between fun and thoughtful.

As a top that’s just seen

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If you prefer your florals on the subtle end, try pairing our cache-coeur tops with a suit in a matching or contrasting colour. Our Plume print with grey, black and white design looks striking when matched with any of these shades, or even with pink or beige as a counterpoint.

It’s also possible to achieve this look with a one-piece dress instead of separartes: our ‘docking’ dresses with mis-matched top and skirt sections.

As a skirt with feminine flare

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Great for summer days, a floral skirt can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Wear our Pink Bella and Oana mermaid-style skirts with a simple top and suit jacket for meetings and business travel, or pair with our new designer t-shirts with secret message for days that fall on the relaxed side of business casual.

Extra special

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For a truly special occasion, our 100% silk Black rose dress feels just as good as it looks and for yet more ways to work florals designs into your office wardrobe, our beautiful inner dresses in burgundy, silver and gold feature floral embroidery lace.

Our specially selected handmade scarves are the ultimate in everyday luxury, with many using delicate floral lace in their unique design.

Luxurious, authentic and handmade – kay me’s 100% silk dresses

The feeling of silk is incomparable, and that’s just one of the reasons why we worked long and hard to create our wonderful signature line of 100% pure silk jersey dresses.

Not only can you experience the luxury of silk every day, but our unique jersey is also fully machine washable and not susceptible to creasing.

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With two new dresses now added to our line-up, there’s never been a better time to feel the sensation of silk.

With a stylish raised collar and gathered bust, our new silk dresses are a great choice for special events in spring and summer, and beyond. The subtle floral print and texture compliment the pretty pink and blue colour variations – pair our pink dress with warm tones and blue with cooler shades.

kay me founder and lead designer Junko Kemi chose to wear our blue dress on her recent business trip to India.

With a full 170 grams of silk in every square metre, kay me’s silk uses double the usual amounts of threads, making it in the top 1% of silk produced worldwide.

This distinctive silk used by kay me is an investment in terms of cost-per-wear, as well as being a revolutionary time-saver – no need for any more trips to the dry-cleaner or hours lost to laundry.

Silk also has a long history of use in Japan, with silk fabrics from 8th century Nara still surviving to this day, and was the clear choice for kay me as an all natural, breathable cloth that also helps to shield the skin from damaging UV rays.

Join as we explore some of the patented process that go into making our handmade silk jersey dresses…

How it’s made:

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Reeling and degumming – The silkworm cocoons are first boiled in hot water to soften the material. One worm can produce around 1500m of silk, while seven to eight cocoons are needed to create one long thread suitable for later spinning.

Our environmentally-friendly patented agent contains a natural protein called sericin, which helps to further dissolve the cocoon. Another protein inside the thread, fibroin, is produced, and this creates the beautiful natural shine that silk is known for.

Knitting – kay me’s washable silk is produced in our Kyoto factory, using a circular knitting technique that ensures the back and front of the fabric have the same smooth texture on both sides, making the inside just as lovely as the outside.

kay me’s search for the perfect washable 100% silk has taken years to perfect, working together with  skilled Japanese artisans to turn the dream of washable easy-care silk into a reality.

The process of turning the silk into a fully washable fabric is performed at the same time as printing, creating less waste overall for the environment.

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Anti-scratch – Following the second round of cleaning, the fabric is treated with a patented agent that prevents scratches and colour loss, meaning that kay me dresses can be washed and worn again and again, keeping colours bold and prints sharp.

Starching – To make the colours on kay me dresses even more vibrant, prior to printing the fabric is treated with a sizing agent. Talented workers at our Kyoto factory check the silk at each stage to maintain the Japan-made quality standards that are prized the world over.

Printing – kay me’s Contemporary Kimono line is inspired by our authentic heritage of kimono silks and patterns from Junko Kemi’s grandmother’s kimono boutique. From our Kyoto factory to the Ginza store, Contemporary Kimono dresses are printed with long-lasting colourful inks that preserve the unique natural tones found in Japanese kimono culture.

Drying and finishing – Our drying process uses the most natural method: the silk is dried in the sun in the enchanting old capital city of Kyoto. This time-consuming process retains the natural shrinkage of the fabric, and means that kay me’s dresses are fully washable with no excess shrinkage following machine washing at home.

Additionally, to prevent the silk from losing its shape, all edges of the silk are sewn with a special tape that protects the shape of the silk knit.

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Invest in heritage and discover the timeless beauty and practicality of kay me’s 100% silk dresses today.

Travel in first class style with kay me

Although we love vacations as much as anyone else, sometimes the travel itself can feel like the most stressful part.

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With this in mind, and a keen traveller for business and pleasure herself, kay me founder and lead designer Junko Kemi decided to create our new travel capsule made specially for situations on the go.

Consisting of long dresses and parkers, with more items coming soon, our new items have been designed from start to finish with comfort and style foremost in mind.

Rib Flare Long Dress

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First up in our new travel series is are our long dresses with stretchy fitted side rib detail. A long sleeveless dress with a scoop neck, the rib panels on either side create an effortless hourglass effect on the wearer.

Wear with heels for cocktails minutes after touchdown, and stay warm and comfortable on air-conditioned planes.

First Class Parker

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New for kay me, our “first class’” parkers were specially created by Junko Kemi as she couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for in terms of a high-quality hoodie jacket that could be worn in a variety of travel situations.

With specially layered fabric providing extra softness, satin ribbons and generous pockets, there’s plenty of details to fall in love with, not to mention easy-to-coordinate colours.

Discover all kay me travel items here

Shape up with kay me dress silhouettes

No matter your shape or style, there’s a dress to suit you and your taste, and all handmade by kay me.

From a fun and feminine flare to a pretty peplum, here at the kay me atelier we love having the opportunity to dress in a great variety of silhouettes, depending on our mood. Many people have a preference, but needless to say that it’s always a good challenge to break out of your comfort zone now and again.

Join us as we round up a selection of our favourite silhouettes for work and weekends…

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Flared

Some of our most popular styles and a kay me classic, our fit-and-flare cache-coeur dresses feature a crossover bust and beautifully flared A-line skirt. Available in a great variety of prints and colours, these are a wonderful way to expand your dress wardrobe.

For other flared styles, try our sleeveless and flare silhouette dresses.

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Loose

Some days you just want a loose-fitting dress – enter our easy to wear sack dress and space dress, in thick soft fabrics that drape from the shoulder. Also with handy pockets, our loose dresses can quickly be dressed up or down with just a simple change of sneakers to heels and parker to tailored jacket.

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Straight

For those who prefer a long and lean look, our docking dresses feature a contrasting loose top with a tighter skirt. Available in solid colours and a lovely variety of prints, docking dresses give you the look of a skirt and blouse with the ease of a dress. New from spring 2018, our shell dresses have a gathered bust with high ribbon-style detail and practical pockets.

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Peplum

Feminine and fun, our peplum dresses are great for the office as well as a city brunch with friends. With a waist-defining frill, peplums are charming on a variety of shapes and sizes, so don’t be shy in giving this trend a try. Our favourites include yellow dalmatian print and lovely lace details.

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Hourglass

For styles that flatter your natural figure, our Venus drape and waist-gathered dresses are a great choice. One of our consistently best-selling styles, Venus drape dress are individually handmade from a single large piece of fabric that is then expertly draped to create the final form.

Use the pattern drop-down menu on our online store to find different styles of dresses – try it today to find your new favourite kay me dress!

Three quick ways to elevate your style

If you’ve been feeling in a style rut recently then now is the best time to take charge and change things up as we move into the summer months. Refreshing your wardrobe doesn’t have to be a challenge, and with our specially selected easy care materials, taking care of the clothing you doesn’t have to be a chore either.

kay me stylists put their heads together and came up with three easy tricks for updating your look…

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(Navy daily, polka dot (restocking soon!), navy cubic wrap, indigo goldfish waist-gathered)

Solid to print

Instead of going for a plain colour, pick out a print. From florals to geometrics and authentic Japanese imagery, there’s plenty to fall in love with.

Stylist tip: if you’re feeling unsure, choose a pattern with a base of your favourite colour.

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(Pink peplum, comet drape, Caroline twist, amaranth ribbon)

Pastel or bright

If you usually reach for dark colours then try the equivalent in a lighter or more pastel tone. At the other end of the spectrum if you commonly wear soft shades, how about trying a bolder and more saturated version?

Stylist tip: pair bright colours with light jackets for extra impact.

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(Indigo denim sacknavy daily, mist grey scarf, fiesta rose scarf)

Add a scarf

Perhaps our favourite trick, and the easiest way to elevate any outfit! Take a look at our kay me Select scarves, ethically handmade exclusively by artisans working in India, and don’t forget to try a few of our stylish ways to tie scarves.

Stylist tip: contrasting or complimentary colours – each creates a totally different look.

The five elements of Japan

As in other eastern cultures, here in Japan the concept of the five elements  (五大) that make the world and everything in it underly much of traditional culture, from food to architecture.

Join us as we take a look at each of the elements in turn…

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土 Earth

– Representing soil and stone, earth gives us a literal connection not only to our bodies but also to the physical world.

Earth is stable and confident.

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水 Water

– Illustrating rives and lakes, water connects us to the flow of life and the growth of all things.

Water is changeable and adaptable.

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火 Fire

– The element of energy and force, fire is connected to passion and movement.

Fire is motivated and intentional.

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風 Wind

– Symbolising freedom and expansion, wind is not only sky breezes but also our own breath.

Wind is open-minded and wise.

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空 Void/sky/heaven

– The most elusive of all the elements, void (also known as sky or heaven) is our connection to all things beyond our experiences.

Void is creative and inventive.

So, what can we learn from the five elements? Channelling the meanings and attributes can help us focus on what we want to achieve – if you need motivation, consider fiery colours to give you an extra boost, if you need to think outside the box then use light fabrics and colours to capture the feeling of air.

Confident, adaptable, intentional, wise and inventive… That sounds a lot like our vision for kay me!

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…