Summer Memories, from kay me

From grandmother to daughter to granddaughter – kay me’s new Coral Water and Ice Water dresses have a long history that begins with a gift…

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As kay me fans may already know, brand founder and lead designer Junko Kemi’s grandmother ran a kimono boutique in Osaka, west Japan, packed with beautiful handmade kimono in seasonal colours and patterns. The story of our two new dresses starts with a special present, a lovely silk kimono in blush pink tones with contrasting mustard and green shades in a brushwork print, that was given by Junko’s grandmother to Junko’s mother for her wedding.

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Reminiscing on kimono, Junko says, “Growing up I didn’t see my mother wearing kimono so much… She had many beautiful kimono from my grandmother but everything was like new even thought she was given it 45 years ago!

I often saw the kimono pattern and fabric but couldn’t wear it either – it’s mottainai (a bit of a waste) for both my mother and grandmother, so I felt motivated to do something.

This beloved kimono became the direct inspiration for the Coral Water and Ice Water dresses – now transformed from traditional clothing into easy-to-wear and care for dresses that meet the needs of modern women. There’s no compromise here: kay me dresses are handmade in Japan, use top quality materials that can be washed and drip-dried, and are soft and stretchy and move with you all day.

I would like to see my mother wearing this kimono, but she was too busy looking after us, so I decided to make into a dress so she can wear it easily. When we were taking photos of this dress I sent her a message to see if she recognised her kimono!”, laughs Junko.

Our Coral Water dress keeps the original pink colour tones of the original kimono, while our Ice Water dress gets a make-over with cool blues and touches of grey and purple – perfect for the office, and evening summer events.

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Junko recommends pairing both of these dresses with white kay me knitwear, or a white kay me jacket for workdays or more formal events. Speaking at a recent conference, Junko chose to wear Coral Water with our white tailored jacket and matching white pumps, effortlessly updating the kimono given by her grandmother to her mother into a dress that’s perfectly suited for a thoroughly contemporary situation.

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Fall in love with our gorgeous Coral Water and Ice Water dresses, and become part of their special history and heritage today.

(For purchase enquiries, please contact shop@kayme.co.uk – the kay me team is looking forward to hearing from you!)

In the Media – ACCJ Journal

A wonderful interview Junko Kemi was recently featured in the American Chamber of Commerce Japan’s Journal:

My background is in marketing and consulting, but I was always aware that, at the root of all market analysis, is the Japanese phrase ishokuju, meaning the necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. When you look at Tokyo, there may be a lot of fashion, but that is the way it should be. It is as important and necessary as food and shelter.

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Read the full interview here.

Japanese spring sweets

Those familiar with Japanese cuisine will know well that there’s much more to traditional Japanese food than sushi and cute candy! Today on the kay me blog, we’re taking a closer look at wagashi (Japanese sweets) for the spring season.

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Sakura mochi – pink-coloured rice cake wrapped in salted cherry leaf

With styles differing between Tokyo and Kyoto, nonetheless sakura (cherry blossom) mochi is perhaps the most iconic spring sweet to be found at this time of year. The soft pink sweetness contrasts with the salted cherry leaf for a unique balanced flavour.

Sakura dango – steamed bun with bean paste, some with cherry blossom decoration

Another cherry blossom-themed sweet, sakura dango are soft and delicious, a seasonal sweet that pairs perfectly with a simple cup of green tea.

Hishi mochi – pink ,white and green layered mochi

Often used purely as a decorative offering for Hina matsuri, some hishi mochi are edible too. Layers of pink, white and green mochi capture the subtle pastel colours of the season.

Higashi – dry sweets made from flour or sugar paste in different shapes

There are many different types of higashi, but the sweet sugary variety are a favourite of the kay me team! The first bite is truly with the eye – look out for seasonal shapes and colours all year round, with cherry blossom for spring.

Of course we couldn’t resist pairing some of our favourite dresses with these pretty sweets…

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(Toki Michelle 100% silk dress, Peony wrap, Comet drape dress, Optical Pink dress)

From traditional Japanese motifs to classic florals and retro prints, we’ve a got a pink dress to match your spring event.

International Women’s Day at kay me

On March 8th, we gathered the kay me HQ team at our Ginza store in Tokyo for a special group photo to commemorate International Women’s Day.

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As a company founded by and for women, the team wanted to celebrate all the women involved in kay me, from Junko Kemi’s original vision of stylish, comfortable and easy to care for workwear, to the artisans who hand-made every single kay me item, to the team behind the label and of course of our wonderful customers who continue to support kay me.

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March 8th is also known as “mimosa day” in Japan, after the Italian tradition of giving mimosa flowers to show appreciation for women. kay me Ginza also had a lovely display of these bright yellow flowers to honour the day.

Beautiful Blooms at kay me Ginza, Tokyo

While the weather is still a little chilly here in Tokyo, spring is definitely in the air – pretty plum blossoms are making their appearance in the parks, people are planning hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties, and here at kay me we’re looking forward to putting away our winter knitwear until the autumn and getting out our beloved florals and prints for the coming season.

In the meantime, to cheer up kay me HQ on a rainy Monday, here’s a look at some of our favourite recent flower displays from kay me Ginza…

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Each arrangement is handmade here in Ginza, and features seasonal colourful flowers that pair beautifully with kay me’s Japanese-inspired prints and patterns.

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Those in the Chubu region of Japan, please note that you can now find kay me at Isetan Haus in Nagoya – see you there!