In Japan, the furisode is a kimono worn by young women on Coming of Age Day, held the second Monday of January the year they turn 20. Characterized by fine silk, colorful patterns and swinging sleeves, these formal articles of clothing help signify a woman’s status as single as well as her transition to adulthood. They’re usually handmade and expensive — from $1,000 to more than $20,000 depending on the type — and parents are usually the ones to purchase them. There’s also the options of renting, which will set you back $500 to $2,200 in fees per day, or buying secondhand. It isn’t unusual to splurge on a young woman’s special day. This is seen in many cultures; in Quinceañeras celebrated throughout the Americas, the Filipino debut and sweet 16 parties. While each of these days is treasured, they can be as costly as a wedding. Now, a company called Oriental Wasou is repurposing the furisode kimono into a wedding dress. The way they do it is simple; they transform the kimono into a sleeveless dress. See some examples below.In this photo series by the the Oriental Wasou, we see the traditional furisode turned into a modern wedding dress.
One might wonder why you would try to change something that’s been around for hundreds of years. Well, the furisode wasn’t always worn by young, unmarried women. It was first introduced in the mid-1500s as clothing for middle- and upper-class children.
Compared to other kimonos, the furisode usually has playful and floral designs like this one. It’s the most formal dress a young woman could wear in Japan.
One of the biggest features that sets the furisode apart from other types of kimonos are the long hanging sleeves. They often reach the ankles or calves. The word furisode literally translates into “swinging sleeves.”
The furisode indicates that a young woman has reached a desirable marital age. With the sleeves tucked away, the design is not only modern it is also symbolic; it says that she is no longer available.
On their official site, the creators wrote that their mission is “to keep, and expand our traditional history of long-sleeved kimono.”
Some Japanese brides get married in a shiromuku, or all-white kimono used in Shinto ceremonies. More and more Japanese women, however, opt for a Western-style wedding and incorporate an outfit change or two to showcase traditional kimonos.
The groom is dressed in a semi-formal outfit called a montsukihakama. Some viewers admit that they were skeptical of the idea of a sleeveless bridal dress made from a furisode but were surprisingly pleased with the results and how well it paired with the hakama.
Which do you prefer alongside the oriental wasou, a suit or a hakama? Both examples are plain in color, which make it much easier to match with the bridal gown.
If you’ve ever tried on a kimono, you know that there are many layers and details. Having a professional dress you is customary as there are many steps.
These kimono dresses are popular on the internet but only time will tell how they’ll do with future generations in Japan. Some have argued that existing wedding kimonos — the shiromuku, irouchikake and hikifurisode — are more tasteful than the oriental wasou. Others, like dancer and model Yuki Shundo, defend the new style and see it as a beautiful way to incorporate traditional and modern tastes. They’ve also noted that the dress can be reverted back to its original style with a few adjustments.