If the word kimono makes you think old, stuffy, traditional and expensive then you haven’t met Yoshihide Hirayama. Although based in the Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, Hirayama is shaping up to become the Andy Warhol of kimonos. With an eye for design and modernism, he’s stirring up the kimono world much in the same way that that Warhol brought profound change to the art industry.
Hirayama originally had no interest in kimonos. In fact, he hardly had an interest in anything at all. But he did like Andy Warhol, and to this day remembers seeing him in Japanese TV ads during the 1980s. His parents both worked as artisans in the kimono-making process and one day he took note of an applique process his mother employed by cutting out old patterns to create something new. It imbued him with the concept that kimonos and modernism didn’t necessarily need to be at opposing ends and that they could, in fact, be married together. It eventually led to the establishment of his kimono company: Modern Antenna.
Using his deep understanding of the kimono, and all their different parts, Hirayama is able to strike a fine balance between craftsmanship and fast-fashion; analog and digital. By employing modern techniques where applicable, and relying on traditional craftsmanship where needed, Modern Antenna produces affordable kimonos that “take up older patterns and rework them, furnishing them with both dynamic color schemes” and geometric devices.
Now, for the first time, Hirayama’s creations are on display in NYC in an exhibition titled Kyoto Kool. They’re on view to the public at Globus Washitsu through March 14, 2016. Gallery hours are noon – 6pm (FB invite).
(Note: gallery is located in a residential building. After being buzzed in, proceed to the 8th floor by elevator. Visitors will be asked to remove their shoes prior to entering)