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The Social Life of Kimono


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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction 1. Think Fashion or Tradition? 2. Tracing Trends in Heian and Edo 3. Mode Becomes Modern: Meiji to 21st Century 4. In Press and Picture: The Published Kimono 5. Makers and Marketers 6. Wearers and Wardrobes 7. Returning Kimono to the Streets Glossary Bibliography Index

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The Social Life of Kimono explores the material culture of the most socially significant garment in Japanese history, from its origins to the present day.

About the Author

Sheila Cliffe is Professor at Jumonji Gakuen Women's University, Japan. She has lectured at conferences, museums and events in Japan, England, Hawaii and Korea and she is one of the first non-native Japanese people to hold an official kimono dressing and teaching licence.


The Social Life of Kimono does cover well-trodden ground in parts, but it mixes in new information and hints at future projects by (Sheila) Cliffe, making it as tantalizing as the glimpse of a hidden collar on a kimono wearer as they run to catch their train in downtown Tokyo. * H-Net *
[A] delightful and comprehensive feast of kimono cultural knowledge ... In addition to its wonderful historical sweep, [Cliffe's volume] offers immense and often personal detail about the intricate stages of making, finishing and accessorising a kimono ... The achievement of a true aficionado. * Times Higher Education *
Shatters antiquated views of Japan's traditional garment ... Cliffe's passion for kimono is infectious, and her deep knowledge on the subject - both academically and aesthetically - is nothing less than inspiring. * Tokyo Weekender *
The Social Life of Kimono gives a unique insight into [the] making and meaning of this complex garment. * Love Sewing *
Tracing the history, economic role, cultural impact, and social uses of kimono, Sheila Cliffe's valuable contribution to the sociology of fashion is a real treat. Comprehensive yet detailed, this book, with its generous collection of beautiful and colorful plates of kimono, should grace the shelf of anyone who appreciates this icon of Japanese aesthetics. -- Brian J. McVeigh, author of Wearing Ideology: State, Schooling and Self-Presentation in Japan
Sheila Cliffe has made invaluable empirical as well as theoretical contributions to the field of fashion studies through her in-depth research on kimono and by making comparisons between the kimono system and the Western fashion system. This is a must-read for anyone interested in ethnic or non-Western dress and fashion. -- Yuniya Kawamura, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, USA.
An abundance of illustrations and solid research gives readers a new and exciting look at kimonos and their wearers. Cliffe demonstrates that Japan has long had a fashion system based on the indigenous garment quite apart from Western influence. Cultural interviews provide a fascinating look at contemporary interpretations of this tradition. -- Michaele Haynes
The Social Life of Kimono gives a unique insight into making and meaning of this complex garment. * ADDRESS: Journal for Fashion Criticism *

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