Japanese kimono designer Jotaro Saito

I think I am turning Japanese when I look at the sheer beauty of modern Japanese kimono design.

The person responsible for the renaissance of Japanese kimono design is Jotaro Saito, one of Japan’s youngest kimono fashion designers.

Jotaro was the youngest kimono designer working in Japan when he brought the kimono onto the catwalk at his debut show in 1997 at the early age of 27.

His label of the same name has been gracing catwalks ever since his debut at the Tokyo Collection and each year thereafter.

His preoccupation is the “Lifestyle kimono” taking the traditional form and heritage of Kimono, which was only worn for formal and special occasions out of the wardrobe and onto the high street of fashion.

Kimono for daily wear is his philosophy. His stunning creations are a respectful nod to traditional kimono design bringing bold colours and modern patterns using the standard kimono form, which has taken the art form to new heights.

There has been a long rich tradition of weaving, dyeing and embroidery in Japan and Jotaro comes from an illustrious background of modern dye artists credited for creating the modern dye community, which use two basic types of resist dyeing (stops dye from dyeing the fabric in certain places), paste resist and shape resist.

Born in Kyoto, Jotaro’s grandfather was an artist and his father Sansai Saito is a modern kimono designer in whose footsteps Jotaro followed.

His designs are without a doubt a work of art incorporating detailed and intricate patterns made possible by the many dye techniques used in Japan today.

He has also carried his art form beyond Kimono to various works of art for restaurants, hotels, museums and shopping districts and his design work has been incorporated into household items and furniture.

He is seldom out of the mass media with programmes on TV and magazine articles all trumpeting his work. He is also in demand by film directors and celebrities.

In addition, he is a lifetime member of the Council for Fashion Designers, Tokyo.

Jotaro has never been afraid to experiment and his work can be described as being international in design but Japanese in inspiration.