Design Story – Venus Drape Dresses

Hello, it’s Yuko from the kay me atelier team again! Today I’d like to tell you all about our Venus Drape dresses.

The other day I had a meeting with our patterner, one of the most important roles in the kay me design team. With our patterner, each item of clothing is created piece by piece and professionally sewn together. Brand founder Junko Kemi received advice that for truly special clothing, pattern is more important than design!

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Our Venus Drape dress was one of the first designs created by Junko.

I’ve been in the fashion industry for a long time, but still when I first saw the Venus Drape pattern I couldn’t imagine the end result at all. It was the first time I saw a pattern where I couldn’t imagine the finished dress!

It was the same for our team of expert sewing artisans: even though there was a specification document, sewing the pattern for the first time was a real challenge due to the complex structure.

Once, Junko and I decided to unpick a Venus Drape dress, and it took us about five hours to completely disassemble the entire dress!

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Working with our patterner, we designed and made many versions of the Venus Drape dress to capture Junko’s vision perfectly. We considered every aspect of how to create the elegantly flowing drapes, how to make it three-dimensional, what the back of the dress would look like, how to define the waist, and more.

For our sewing artisans, it’s a complicated design as the stitches are shorter so it takes much more time and effort than basic long seams.

It’s a process that can only be done manually by expert craftspeople.

kay me also uses large prints, creating more hard work – we have to really consider the print and the placement of each pattern piece when cutting and sewing.

The pattern for Venus Drape dresses creates shapes using perfectly places darts, switching and joints, and it’s especially difficult to create this type of dress without putting too much strain on particular seams.

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It’s been a real commitment to design and make our gorgeous Venus Drape dresses!

Looking forward to next time… Yuko.

Introducing Shadow Florals, from kay me

Today on the kay me blog, we’re introducing our new mini-collection of original print fresh florals designed for summer. Available in a variety of signature kay me designs, our new dresses are great for summer days at home and abroad: our specially selected jersey materials are drip-dry and non-crease, making them perfect for vacations and trips away.

At kay me HQ our current record is 60 of our dresses rolled and fitted into a single suitcase – we’d love to see if you can beat that number!

Shadow Flower Piping Dress and Venus Drape Dress

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Our new Shadow Flower print features contrasting black and white shadows and highlights in elegantly flowing floral forms to create a beautiful modern monotone style. A kay me classic, our venus drape dresses give wearers an instant dramatic hourglass figure with hand-placed tucks and drapes that take hours of intricate stitching.

Our piping dress combines the look of a top and skirt with the ease and convenience of a dress. With a structured skirt and lighter top, the cross-over neckline features a piped edge in black to add extra interest.

Navy Flower Cache-coeur Dress and Orange Flower Ribbon Dress

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Shadow Flower gets a make-over – also available in orange and navy! One of our favourite designs, kay me’s cache-coeur dresses is a deceptively simple A-line fit-and-flare style that’s just as stylish in the office as out for dinner with friends. Three-quarter sleeves make this a versatile dress.

The central twist of our ribbon dresses creates a visual centre-point that’s enhanced by the riot of rich florals of the print. Special case is taken when pattern-matching and sewing this design to create the most visual pleasing combination. Pair this vivid and juicy orange with white kay me knitwear for a sunny summer style.

Butterfly Daily Dress

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Capture the effortless joy of summer with our charming new butterfly print. Simple white butterflies flutter across a warm navy background on our daily dress. With a round neck, short sleeves and a decorative waist-tie, our daily dress is an easy to wear wardrobe favourite that you’ll be reaching for… every day!

While we’re working hard on our fantastic new online store, these dresses are currently available in Japan. Please email shop@kayme.co.uk for international inquiries.

kay me Contemporary Kimono and Japanese Summer Festivals

As the weather continues to heat up here in Tokyo, we’re talking a look at just a few of the many summer festivals in Japan, as well as some of our favourite Contemporary Kimono dresses to match.

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(Tokiwa-Midori 100% silk asymmetry dress)

Tanabata – July 7th

Also known as the star festival, this celebration is named after the legend of a Japanese weaving maiden who  was believed to create clothes for the gods themselves. In early July, you can often see displays of bamboo branches with small slips of paper hung from them – written on these papers will be wishes, dreams and aspirations.

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(Belvedere waist-gathered dress)

Toro Nagashi (Floating lantern festival) – July 19th

A traditional Japanese custom to mark Bon festival, small paper lanterns containing candles are let go into the air or set on lakes and rivers to guide the spirits of ancestors.

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(Coral Water waist-gathered dress)

Sumidagawa Fireworks festival – late July

One of the most popular summer events in Tokyo, the fireworks display over Sumidagawa river in Asakusa is an annual favourite. Expect dramatic displays lighting up the night sky and large crowds to match.

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(Ice Water waist-gathered dress)

Bon festival – mid-August

Important in the Buddhist calendar, Bon festival is the time to honour the spirits of ancestors. Many people in Japan take this as an opportunity to visit their hometowns away from the big cities and spend time together with families.

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(Quiet Garden cache-coeur dress)

Awa-odori – late August

Koenji is the modern home of one of the largest awa-odori festivals featuring traditional dancing and music, plus food and entertainment to match, but other smaller festivals can also be found around Tokyo.

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(Aka-Michelle waist-gathered dress)

Here at kay me HQ we love to get into the spirit of the season, and summer is a lovely chance to explore more about Japanese culture and traditional dress. For those who are looking for dresses with all modern comforts and high-tech materials but with a uniquely authentic Japanese influence, our Contemporary Kimono dresses are the perfect match.

With print designs based on brand founder Junko Kemi’s grandmother’s kimono, fabrics including our unique washable 100% silk jersey and flattering styles suitable for a variety of occasions, there’s never been a better time to discover the beauty of Japanese kimono dresses from kay me.

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Print Story – Denime

Hello, this is Yuko from the kay me atelier team! Today I’d like to tell you all about our Denime dress.

kay me is a brand that supports working women, so we love to create versatile prints for every occasion: presentations, parties, dinners and the office, as well as dates, outings, travel and resort vacations.

When we look at a design, various scenes and situations run through my head. For example, for a formal dinner, what kind of industry is it? Have they met before? What is the balance of men and women at the dinner? How conservative should attendees dress? And so on…

Even though I’ve spent a long time in the apparel industry, I haven’t encountered many designers who think about materials and designs from this point of view.

Take our Denime print, suitable for every day, you can carry the casual feeling of denim with you.

By overlaying elegant flowers and lace, you can wear this dress on not so casual days as well. We were also conscious of the stitching to maintain the image of actual denim, so we selected a contrasting orange as an accent colour.

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We trial printed fabric over and over until we achieved the perfect delicate nuance of authentic antique faded denim. Finally we found the ideal colour and were able to print it using specialist techniques on our top-quality stretchy and washable rayon. The matching design for this print is our signature drape style that flatters your natural figure.

This dress was entirely made in Tokyo from start to finish, so come and take a look!

Looking forward to next time… Yuko.

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Get Ready for Special Events, with kay me

Weddings, graduations, birthdays, baby showers and parties… The summer season schedule is often packed with special events from morning to night. kay me is here to help – handmade by a small team of skilled artisans here in Japan, our dresses are machine washable and drip-dry with no need to iron, as well as being crease-resistant.

Perfect for travel and long days, there’s no need to worry about wrinkled skirts or expensive cleaning bills, and you can certainly dance up a storm in our premium stretchy fabrics!

Here’s our selection of pretty party dresses fit for a variety of occasions:

Amaranth Cross Dress

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The distinctive vivid pink colour and specially tailored cross paneling of our Amaranth dress is sure to make you stand out from the crowd. Sleeveless and with small side-slits for easy walking, let this dress shine by keeping accessories light and minimal.

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Royal Blue Double-twist Dress

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Our double-twist dresses* are created from a complex pattern that ensures the front and back twists are perfectly positioned to enhance and flatter your natural figure. This rich shade of royal blue is pretty with pearls and contrasting footwear.

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Black Halter Dress

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Simple and elegant, this little black dress is sure to be a favourite! Our halter dress in black features a removable neck ribbon that can be tied and draped in multiple ways, an in-built waistband and handy pockets for keeping small essentials close by.

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Green Cache-coeur Dress

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A bold green sets apart this cache-coeur dress*, with classic fit-and-flare design and long sleeves. Attend a graduation, toast a happy couple and enjoy a dinner party with this versatile dress. Just add kay me knitwear for chilly evenings.

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Navy Swarovski Crystal V-neck Dress

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Delicate hand-placed crystals are the focal point of our navy v-neck dress, accented by the softly fluttering double-layered A-line skirt. A feature zip in bronze at the back of this dress creates a contrast, and can be given extra edge with a kay me biker jacket.

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*Available in Japan, please email shop@kayme.co.uk for inquiries

Exploring Behind the Scenes, with kay me

Here at the kay me atelier, we’ve been hard at work creating our new collection ready for autumn and winter 2017, as well as a few other exciting surprises coming soon…

With Fashion Revolution Week in mind, the team took a trip to the Tokyo suburbs to visit some our skilled artisans whose expert handiwork and knowledge goes into making every kay me item.

Here’s a quick look at just some of the complex processes that are behind our beautiful Belvedere dress:

And here’s what the finished product looks like:

kay me founder Junko Kemi, and the whole atelier team, love nothing better than seeing sketches and designs become a gorgeous reality, as well as working closely with our 100% Japan-based artisans who painstakingly hand-make each and every kay me item.

From idea to sketch to fabric to completed dress, join kay me as we continue our journey creating instant elegance for busy women around the world.

Styling a Black Jacket, with kay me

Second only to the little black dress, a simple black jacket has truly wonderful styling potential. Suitable for office situations such as client work, presentations and meetings, as well as being the perfect layer for cool evenings over matching skirts and contrasting dresses, a black jacket is a true wardrobe staple.

kay me jackets have been specially designed with busy women in mind, and each new design is tested in-house at kay me HQ in Tokyo to ensure the best fit, tighten up tailoring and be given Junko Kemi’s seal of approval. From pockets to piped seams to feature buttons, kay me jackets are packed with attention to detail.

In celebration of the humble but essential black jacket, we’ve chosen a few coordinating dresses to show how versatile one jacket can be, in this case our simple and elegant black bolero jacket in stretch ponte fabric:

Back in black: stretch ponte black dress & black jacket

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A simple look, but one that works – pairing our ponte bolero jacket with our beautifully tailored dress in matching ponte fabric. This dress features three-quarter sleeves, a moderate V-neck and specially placed tucks and darts to enhance your natural figure.

Fabric mix: Charlotte docking dress & black jacket

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With the ease and convenience of a dress but the look of separates, our docking dresses are the definition of fuss-free elegance! Our Charlotte docking dress features a striking graphic monotone print in light and airy chiffon, contrasted with a structured black skirt.

Modern monotone: Smith Black dress & black jacket

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If our Charlotte print has piqued your interest in black and white, our waist-gathered Smith Black dress is sure to tick all the boxes. Bold black and white brushstrokes make up this print, and our waist-gathered style is always flattering.

Feminine florals: Painting Yellow wrap dress & black jacket

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Our signature wrap dresses have been updated for spring and summer 2017 with charming collars and three-quarter sleeves. Painting Yellow* features dramatic black and yellow florals on a white structured A-line skirt, with soft and stretchy contrasting black top.

Colour and pattern: Tile Fretwork venus drape dress & black jacket

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Wrapping up our quick look at styling a black jacket is our venus drape dress in new Tile Fretwork print*, combining black and white with shades of rich teal green and touches of mustard with our signature venus drape style. Hand-draped from a single piece of fabric, our venus drape dresses, like all kay me items, are fully machine washable, drip-dry and non-iron.

Don’t forget, we love to see how you wear your kay me – share your looks on Instagram with #instantelegance

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*Available in Japan, please email shop@kayme.co.uk for inquiries

Celebrating Golden Week in Japan

Welcome to May! The days have started getting a little longer and certainly much hotter here in Tokyo, and at kay me HQ in Ginza we’re looking forward to Golden Week – a collection of national holidays that fall close together at this time of year.

Constitution Memorial Day – chosen to remember the implementation of the Japanese constitution, many people and media outlets take the chance to reflect on the meaning of democracy and government in Japan.

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Greenery Day – how lovely to have a day to celebrate the beauty of nature! The timing of Greenery Day couldn’t be better, as early May sees all the flowers in public parks and private gardens in full bloom. kay me team members like to take this opportunity to head out of the city and into the countryside: Mt. Takao a short train ride from Tokyo, or Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture for a longer stay amid the trees.

Children’s Day – also known as Boy’s Day (like Hina Matsuri or Girl’s Day), but now seen as a celebration of children and parents, this annual festival has been recognised since ancient times. Children’s Day is one of our favourites, as we love to see the brightly coloured carp streamers (koinobori) swimming in the beautiful blue sky – each carp represents a member of the family.

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Celebrate in style with kay me, from Japan to the world.

New Season Navy, from kay me

Navy blue – a classic shade that’s suitable for all seasons, and one that we’re very happy to be celebrating today on the kay me blog. Navy blue has been a big inspiration for us this spring: softer than black, richer than grey and yet maintaining its place as a solid neutral that pairs beautifully with other colours. From white and cream to tan and caramel, not to mention on-trend pastels, try partnering our navy with a variety of tones and see how versatile your wardrobe instantly becomes.

Let’s take a closer look at some of our favourite navy dresses for spring and summer 2017…

Navy Venus Drape Dress*

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A kay me signature design, all our Venus Drape dresses, including our navy version, are made from a single piece of artfully draped fabric that creates a dramatic hourglass figure. Pair with simple heels to make a strong impression.

Navy Double Twist Dress*

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New for spring 2017, our sleeveless Double Twist dresses (also available in hot pink and royal blue) are perfect for dressing up or down. Pair with a kay me jacket in contrasting white or matching navy for easy office style.

Paisley Wrap Dress*

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A favourite of kay me founder Junko Kemi, our paisley print wrap dress takes the stress out of morning dressing. Pair with a kay me biker jacket for a work to weekend look.

Navy Raglan Sleeve Dress*

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Another new style we’re excited to share is our raglan sleeve dress, created with travel in mind and packed with attention to detail. Pair with casual kay me knitwear, or a tailored kay me jacket for chic situations.

* Available in Japan, please email shop@kayme.co.uk for international inquiries.

Style focus: Junko Kemi

As the founder of kay me, Junko Kemi has plenty of opportunities to share her style and, needless to say, wear her favourite new kay me items every day!

Long-time fans will already know the story behind kay me: born out Junko’s frustration with the workwear available to women in Japan, she wanted to create an accessible range of stylish and work-appropriate clothing that not only looked good but felt good to wear too. Soft and stretchy, as well as being machine-washable and drip-dry, kay me now provides busy women with versatile dresses, suits, casual jacket and accessories, as well as hosting events and keeping production in Japan with our team of skilled artisans.

Here’s a few of our favourite looks from Junko – to see more take a look at Junko’s blog (Japanese), and our Instagram for daily updates from kay me HQ in Tokyo and beyond.

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