2020 Resolution – Conscious Fashion

The first month of January is soon coming to a close and still lies a long year ahead in the world of the fashion industry. While fast fashion still remains as the go-to option for many, more light is continually shed on its effects on the environment, and people have taken notice. This year for 2020, women have chosen to be more conscious and savvy with their purchase decisions, and are shifting their focus away from fast fashion.  All of which, is paving way for another trend on the rise – sustainable fashion.

We at kay me love supporting ethical fashion, and our pieces are no exception. Take a closer look at how kay me supports ethical, sustainable fashion through our products.

It can be a difficult decision to make whether or not to buy products made at the expense of an animal for fashion. However at kay me, we made that decision clear; from day one, our line of products are made with cruelty free and ethical practices and include no animal products at all. Our bags are made using a premium, 100% vegan leather, put together by highly-skilled local Japanese artisans who ensure the top-level quality and finish to each bag. Scroll through our line of vegan bags and wallets.

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While Japan is a treasure cove of beautiful crafts, design and culture, however the very traditions which propelled Japan into cultural recognition worldwide, is being carried on by a handful of craftsmen and small local businesses. kay me is driven to ensure local practices and traditions continue for many generations to come and we enlist local expert artisans in the making of our clothing, from fabric-dying, embroidery to hand-stitching and sewing.

 

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Know that standing out in kay me, is standing up proud for small trades and keeping traditions alive. Explore our range of dresses, knits and stoles, or learn a little more about the kay me background here.


We are proud that we, and other brands have taken the step towards creating a fashion industry with a more positive, sustainable future. We hope you are inspired this year to make more conscious purchase decisions, support local craft and businesses and share our love for our ethical fashion.

 

kay me’s three problem-solving features

Did you know that kay me was envisioned by brand founder and lead designer Junko Kemi to meet her exacting work-wear needs?

Searching for new outfits appropriate for the office back in 2011, Junko was disappointed that none of the clothing on offer ticked all of the boxes for her.

Instead of compromising or giving up, Junko decided there was a perfect gap in the market for a range of women’s clothing and business suits that was machine washable, soft and stretchy, and in a classic chic style.

Let’s take an in-depth look at kay me’s three problem-solving features…

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1. “I don’t want to waste time dry-cleaning

Being able to machine-wash at home ensures that you’ll never have to worry about dragging a whole pile of items to the dry-cleaner, paying extra, dealing with slippery protective bags, and above all, worrying about the next trip to the cleaner.

We’ve chosen a selection of both man-made and natural fibers that provide excellent color retention, and are easily washed at home with no complicated instructions, can be hung to dry, and are also crease-resistant meaning no need for ironing.

2. “I want to be comfortable

In addition to be being machine-washable at home, our fabrics are also chosen for their softness and stretchiness.

There’s nothing worse than feeling too tightly restricted by clothing during a busy day. As part of Junko’s career as a consultant she was used to traveling around the country by car, train and air, so she understood the true value of being able to commute to and from work and live an active life in the most comfortable way possible.

Additionally, our dress and clothing patterns have been designed, redesigned and reworked multiple times to ensure that every seam, tuck and pleat is perfectly placed on the body to create a surprisingly comfortable and flattering silhouette.

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3. “I don’t want to feel stressed about outfit coordination

Say goodbye to the Monday morning closet panic!

All our items have been designed and made to seamlessly wear together, with classic items such as suits always available in must-have navy and black, with colors including gray and charcoal, pastels and rich reds available seasonally.

For even more outfit inspiration, be sure to take a look at the coordinate suggestions on every item page, with kay me’s expert stylists providing inspiration for how to wear each item within the kay me range.

To learn more about the behind-the-scenes story of kay me, click here!

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.

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.

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.

Getting Organised for the New Year

As we welcome 2018, it’s a great time to embrace (or brush up!) our organisational skills. Whether this means cleaning out your closet, sorting the files on your desktop or investing in a new pen and paper planner, taking a small amount of time makes a big difference later on.

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We asked our Japanese customers which methods they prefer for keeping track of their schedules, and the results proved very decisive! Here’s the final breakdown:

Paper planner – 62.9%

Other scheduling apps – 11.4%

Smartphone/tablet in-built scheduling app – 10%

Google calendar – 7.1%

Paper calendar – 5.7%

Company’s own scheduling system – 2.9%

It seems that our Japanese customers by far prefer traditional pen and paper when it comes to scheduling and planning. It’s no wonder, as Japan has some of the most beautiful stationery made from ancient techniques, as well as practical solutions including the world-famous Hobonichi Techo planners.

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kay me’s Junko Kemi loves her leather-covered schedule book, with a week on one page and free list-writing space on the other. It’s familiar sight at the kay me office!

For those on the hunt for Japanese stationery and goods, we recommend the century-old Itoya store as well as Tokyu Hands, both just a short walk from our flagship store in central Ginza.

Happy planning!

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

2017 has been another amazing year for us, with kay me going from strength to strength each and every month.

Some of our highlights include the opening of our new store and members club in Shinjuku, Junko receiving yet more industry awards, our new kay me Select line and the relaunch of our international website.

Here’s a few of our favourite images from the past year:

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Keep in touch with us on Instagram for more…

A big thank you from everyone at kay me for joining us on our journey this year, and we’re so looking forward to sharing the next year with you!

Print story – Placing the Pattern

Hello everyone, it’s Yuko from the kay me atelier team. Today I’d like to share with you our “Autumn of Art”…

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I’m always adapting numerous designs from our partners at the London design office, thinking about the colour richness, the dynamic designs and the unique subjects. These are all very important to the design process at kay me, and of course it’s fun for me to be surrounded by plenty of pretty fabrics – it’s like being in an art museum!

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It’s quite difficult to create a print dress, as there are various considerations such as the arrangement of the print, the size, the colours and tones of of the print…

In order to get the best final result I make several mock-ups.

At kay me we pride ourselves on matching the print to the design of the dress, as well as pattern-matching each piece of each item, so every dress looks its best.

First, we make a simulation of where to place the main pattern. Then, we place the pattern parts on the fabric to make sure everything fits as we wish. Finally, we make any small adjustments. It’s actually a long process, but this is how we complete all our special dresses.

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I think kay me dresses are like paintings! Please enjoy!

Looking forward to next time… Yuko. 

Print Story – Kimono and the Beauty of Nature in Japan

Hello everyone, it’s Yuko from the kay me atelier team here. Today I’d like to tell you about our kimono prints…

As you may already know, kay me founder Junko Kemi’s grandmother ran a kimono boutique in Osaka for many years, and being around these beautiful patterns from a young age really inspired Junko.

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Here at kay me, we have many ‘wa’ () Japanese taste prints and designs, including our Belvedere and Quiet Garden dresses (above), both with prints from genuine antique kimono.

We also tasked an award-winning design company based in London to create their own kimono-inspired prints. I’m working through many ideas right now…

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Our Otsukimi Purple jersey dress is inspired by Japanese moon viewing nights, and is soft, stretchy and washable at home – much more convenient than a traditional kimono, but with all the elegance and refined style of Japanese dress.

Personally, I love kimono!

But, it’s even better to be wear it easily, isn’t it?

 

With our stunning Contemporary Kimono dresses, you can feel the beauty of Japanese natural aesthetics every day.

Looking forward to next time… Yuko.

Print Story – Finding the Right Fabric

Hello everyone, it’s Yuko from the kay me atelier team again…

Today I’d like to talk about something a little different – combining the print with the textile.

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Even though it’s tough to balance different fabrics and knits, prints are a way to really express yourself freely!

It’s important to distinguish between different methods – we change the printing method depending on the compatibility between the design and materials.

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We always want to highlight the beauty and delicacy of our weaving and knitting, so one version will use overlapping screen-printing, such as for our stretchy tweed on textured fabric (above).

For long-lasting colours with natural tones like our watercolour-inspired Bella print (left), we use inkjet printing.

 

The finish also depends on which fabric is being printed on. The textile is pure white before printing, but the differences in knitting methods can be seen when the print is applied. Although it’s a subtle difference, the colours look slightly different. We have to choose the best match between fabric and print style.

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(Coming soon!)

Even though I imagine what the finished print will look like, it often looks different! I have to make many adjustments and create prototypes for every new print design.

All this hard work means that we can share our prints with the world with confidence!

Looking forward to next time… Yuko.

Find all kay me’s unique prints patterns on our Print Gallery page.