Calling Ourselves Out- a public apology about cultural appropriation of the kimono
Those of you who have followed us from the beginning will know that we used to operate under the name Meiji Designs and made garments that we called kimonos. We would like to call ourselves out on this and apologise profusely to anyone this caused hurt or offence to. We set up our business after graduating fuelled by our passion for hand printing and textiles, and the desire to work for ourselves. We were also influenced by the ideology of the kimono being a work of art and ancient Japanese dyeing techniques such as shibori. We started off by making scarves but it was always our desire to make kimono style garments, as we enjoyed wearing these ourselves and wanted to create some in our own prints. We were young, naive and uneducated on the effects that cultural appropriation can have on people and cultures. The garments we make, although inspired by the shape of kimono, are miles apart from the traditional Japanese heritage garments.
Not only did we name our garments insensitively and incorrectly, we also named our company after a period of time in Japan that did not belong to us in any way shape or form. Disrespect and stealing was never the intention, but we realise we did wrong, it was inconsiderate and ignorant. For the last few years, it hadn't sat right with us, the way people wrote articles about us, really honing in on the Japanese inspiration, we dreaded it every time anyone asked us why we were called Meiji Designs as we knew it wasn't right. We changed our business name last year and this public statement is long overdue. We have learnt a lot since our university days when we lived in a bubble not realising our privilege, we strive to do better and to listen to other peoples experiences.
We will never be perfect but we are always learning and think that it is important to be honest and admit mistakes and try and use these to head in the right direction. We are ashamed of our actions and without realising it, we were completely going against our personal and company values of being kind and inclusive.
We’ve recently been calling them ‘kimono inspired garments’ until we think of an appropriate name.
Please DM us if you would like to learn more about this topic and we can point you in the direction of some great educators, please respect their spaces.