Digital Kimono: Fast Fashion, Slow Fashion?
Fashion in the twenty-first century is typically fast fashion, characterized by mass production, high turnover and goods designed for a short lifespan. The kimono appears to be the antithesis of fast fashion in terms of production and consumption. A kimono takes time to create and usually has a long lifespan. However, in the current global fashion market there has been a growing trend towards slow fashion, which involves longer production times, use of local materials, and a focus on quality and sustainability. Elements within the Japanese fashion industry exhibit this trend but the reality is more complex than simply complying with a set of slow fashion criteria. An examination of the Kyoto kimono-making industry demonstrates a simultaneous speeding up and slowing down of various aspects of Japanese clothing. Rigorous scrutiny reveals the difficulty of categorizing production techniques as either fast or slow fashion. In addition, alternative ways of consuming kimono, that align with slow fashion characteristics, demonstrate that they can change the way consumers view purchases.