Summer national holidays in Japan 2018

This week on the kay me blog, we’re taking a look at the national holidays that are celebrated during the summer season.

All year long, national holidays are celebrated throughout the country, and naturally summer is no exception. Here at the kay me atelier in Tokyo, we’ve pinned down our favourite summer holidays with styles and colours to match! Keep scrolling for vacation inspiration…

July 16th – 海の日 – Marine Day

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(Blue-grey Marilyn, Light blue goldfish, Ice blue stripe cotton)

A day to celebrate the beauty of the sea and its bountiful ocean life. Near Tokyo, the historical Kamakura area is popular with tourists and locals alike, and did you know that Chiba, best known as Tokyo’s adjoining suburb, is now a surfing hotspot?

Capture the freshness of sea breezes with cool blues and whites, featuring hidden goldfish and marine stripes.

Don’t forget to add one of our luxurious handmade scarves in matching tones to protect from UV rays, as well as add an extra style element to your outfit.

August 11th – 山の日 – Mountain Day

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(Italian olive cotton, Pothos daily, Aurora wrap)

With Mt Fuji visible from many an office building and apartment in Tokyo, it’s no wonder that this world-famous natural feature is marked on the newly added Mountain Day. As well as Fuji, Mt. Takao, Mt. Mitake and the Oku-Tama countryside are just a train ride from central Tokyo.

Add a natural feel to your wardrobe with our botanical-inspired prints, and shades of green.

Our super stretchy fabrics are certainly comfortable enough for low-level hiking, but we’ve yet to put our dresses to the ultimate test…

September 17th – 敬老の日 – Respect the Aged Day

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(Wagasa cache-coeur, Peony grey wrap, Hana kurenai 100% silk)

Japan is know for having some very long-lived residents, with many previous world’s oldest citizens holding the crown. Indeed, the story of kay me begins with brand founder Junko Kemi’s grandmother’s kimono boutique in Osaka, and we celebrate our Japanese heritage every day with our authentic kimono-inspired prints and 100% silk dresses.

Discover the beauty of true Japanese design with our wagasa (Japanese umbrella) and pretty peony print dresses.

Our patented washable silk jersey is practical as well as pretty, using unique techniques developed here in Japan. Learn more about our silk production here.

September 23rd – 秋分の日 – Autumn Equinox

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(Beige pink leaf chiffon, Carrot orange wrap, Aka-michelle)

Brining us to the official end of summer, even when the hot temperatures regularly continue to mid-October, is the autumn equinox, this year falling on 23rd September.

Many people in Japan practice koromogae, the act of changing your wardrobe for the seasons by putting away spring and summer clothes such as light dresses and skirts and taking out autumn and winter items such as coats and heavier jackets.

As a nod to the change from summer to autumn, why not introduce rich warm colours again? Start with our glamorous leaf print long dress in chiffon…

Print story – seaside stripes

Hi everyone, and happy Marine Day from Japan! It’s Yuko from the kay me atelier team, back again to share with you the story behind the stripes of our lovely long skirt

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I’m lucky enough to love by sea, just outside Tokyo. With the sound of the waves and the beautiful blue of the sea, I feel like my senses are healed every day!

So, we decided to make a charming stripe print. (Did you know that horizontal stripes are called “border” in Japanese? Vertical stripes are simply stripes!)

We chose this hand painted style with random wavey lines, just like waves.

So, how about the colour? We tried a few combinations:

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Cool colour tones, chic and mature pinks and greys, warm colours, cute and grown up…

Well, after all, this print is inspired by the sea, so in that regard we decided that the strongest combination is classic navy and white. We also chose to place the stripes diagonally to create flattering lines – this takes a lot of time to match the stripes on each side, but it’s worth it for the beautiful end result.

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Why not try a marine-style outfit by wearing our long skirt with white, or with darker navy for casual weekends in the city?

Until next time… Yuko.

The Beauty of Japanese Summer Flowers

We’re no strangers to a floral print or two here at kay me, and the stunning nature that surrounds us in Japan in every season is a constant source of inspiration for us, as well as for artists through the ages.

The hot and humid summer is a riot of colour if you know where to look: as well as the extensive countryside and large parks, balconies, side streets and even staircases in the Tokyo metropolis are home to flowers of all shapes and sizes.

Join us today as we look at a selection of summer flowers that can be found in Japan, and dresses that capture the essence of colourful floral beauty.

Hydrangeas – ajisai (Taisui Inuzuka)

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(Lila waist-gathered, Blue space, Utopia wrap, Blue one-shoulder)

Probably our favourite part of rainy reason, gorgeous hydrangeas in all shades of blue, as well as pinks, purples and even greens, can be found all over Tokyo during June.

Pick up on the variety of colours with our Lila and Utopia prints, or capture the elegance of shimmering petals in the rain with our one-shoulder shimmering blue dress.

Sunflowers – himawari (Sakai Hoitsu)

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(Limone flare, Flower dance wrap, Yellow dalmatian peplum, Spring yellow wrap)

Nothing brings a smile to our faces like a charming sunny sunflower!

Bring a little more sunshine into your life with our Limone and dalmatain peplum dresses, or bring out the contrast in our Flower dance and Spring yellow wrap dresses, both with hidden tab and button to ensure maximum comfort and skirt security.

Iris – ayame (Shoson Ohara)

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(Labyrinth 100% silk, Purple drape, Purple botanical waist-gathered, Lavender wrap)

Brining summer colour lakes and ponds across Japan, the deep purple iris flowers is complimented by their delicate petals.

These frills and folds are echoed in the pattern of our Purple drape and Purple botanical waist-gathered dresses, while our 100% silk Labyrinth dress calls to mind the opulence of royal palaces with ornamental gardens.

Rose – bara (Ohno Bakufu)

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(Pink cache-coeur, Toki michelle 100% silk, Burgundy flare silhouetteBlack rose 100% silk)

Romantic and alluring or cute and charming? Roses can be spotted in all manner of colours, and our favourites have to be classic reds and pinks.

Our Black rose dress in 100% silk is a natural choice to celebrate the classic beauty of roses, or choose the flowing A-line shapes of our cache-coeur and flare silhouette dresses, the latter with charming ribbon detail that looks like an origami rose.

Keep your eyes open for a new and very special rose coming soon…

Style up solid colours

Simple, versatile and stylish – solid colour dresses are a certainly wardrobe workhorses, and here at kay me we rely on them for every day in the office, for special presentations and for formal events, not to mention fuss-free travel and long conferences… the situations are endless.

But how can we keep our favourite dresses feeling fresh? kay me stylists gave a few handy hints…

Contrasting jacket

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(Royal blue shell & white bolero jacket, Peach sleeveless flare & off-black stole cardigan, Black halter & white collarless jacket)

A jacket in a different colour – think light jacket with dark dress or the opposite – creates a pleasing contrast that highlights your face and flatters your silhouette.

This simple styling trick works with light, dark and bright colours, for work situations as well as evening dinners and receptions. Choose matching or contrasting shoes and accessories to complete the look.

Accessories

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(Navy daily & fiesta rose silk wool, Royal blue cache-coeur & pure white silk wool, Navy space & ice blue silk wool)

It’s no secret that we love our artisan handmade scarves from kay me select!

Specially chosen by kay me founder Junko Kemi, our diverse range of stoles in wool, silk and cashmere blends are the finishing touch to any outfit. Choose from lace details, intricate weaves, and hand-sewn beading and sequins.

Docking dresses

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(Oana chiffon blousing, Town panther wrap, Black drape, White and navy knit switching, Chainon navy piping, Office animal blousing)

For a different approach, why not try our fantastic “docking” and blousing dresses that combine a contrasting skirt and top in one dress for a stylish two-piece look with all the ease of a one-piece dress.

Stick with solids for a colour-blocking effect, or play with prints for each occasion – florals, animal and geometric designs are now available.

Simple summer styling tricks

We’re now officially in the heat of summer here at the Tokyo kay me atelier, with August set to be the peak of the season.

Summer can be hot and humid, so we turned to our trusted stylists working at kay me stores around Japan for their top tips for surviving and thriving stylishly this summer…

Go sleeveless

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(Navy rib front zip, Navy Swarovski, Light denim mermaid, Milano rib navy)

The easiest trick of all – choose a sleeveless style for a breezy look that works all day long. Choose from a variety of silhouettes for different occasions, available in different fabrics. We’ve highlighted just a few of our favourite styles, and we’re sure you’ll agree that for versatility in summer, sleeveless is the way to go.

For formal situations and strong air-conditioners indoors and on transportation, top off with our made-in-Japan knitwear to guard against the chill.

Stylist tip: Darker colours are less likely to show sweat and stains, but remember that all kay me items are fully machine washable!

Add a scarf

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(Light grey future flare & Rose pink lace jacquard, Orange marilyn & Pure white silk wool, Navy future flare & Paris pink silk wool lace frame, Blue-grey marilyn & Mist grey foil print lace)

While this may feel counterintuitive in hot weather, a scarf can be a useful coverup – draped over the shoulders it can protect from harsh UV rays, it can be folded on your lap during meetings or travelling, and adds a splash of colour in any situation.

Our kay me Select scarves are handmade individually by expert craftspeople with generational of knowledge behind every design.

Take a look at our favourite scarf tutorials here and try a new way to style your stole today.

Stylist tip: Go for contrasting colours to highlight your individual style, or matching colour families for a harmonious look.

Pretty prints

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(Monet chiffon, Limone flare, Oana chiffon blousing, Wonder earth daily)

Naturally, at kay me we love a floral print. Inspired by the beautiful nature and culture surrounding us here in Japan, we often look to the natural world to guide us, as well as the incredible authentic kimono prints discovered in kay me founder Junko Kemi’s grandmother’s kimono boutique.

Stylist tip: Let your dress do the talking with our bright and bold designs, keep all eyes on you with simple accessories in plain colours.

Enjoy the summer wherever you are, and don’t forget the sunscreen…

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

8wardrobe1

(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

8wardrobe2

(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.