Posted on

Kiiro News Update


Dear friends and supporters of Kiiro,

We hope this message finds you well. We want to share an important update regarding the future of Kiiro, the art and lifestyle brand that we both co-founded in 2020.

Our journey with Kiiro began as a shared passion project, driven by our mutual love for the timeless allure of indigo. Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, we managed to achieve significant milestones during our time working together.

Together, we fulfilled art commissions and handcrafted art for our discerning customers. We designed and supplied functional clothing and other items to boutiques in Vietnam, the USA, and the UK, including restaurant supplies. It was a rewarding journey that allowed us to bring indigo-inspired creations to individuals around the world.

However, as life often takes us on different paths, we have made the decision to part ways professionally. Tom is currently pursuing a Masters Degree at The Royal College of Arts, which is an incredible opportunity for him to further his expertise. Lilly will continue her art practice while also taking on the responsibility of developing the Kiiro brand independently.

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you who has supported Kiiro throughout our journey so far. Your encouragement, patronage, and enthusiasm have meant the world to us. While this marks the end of our formal partnership, it is not the end of the Kiiro story. Lilly remains deeply committed to the brand and its artistic vision.

Kiiro looks forward to sharing new and innovative indigo-inspired creations with you in the near future. Please stay tuned for updates and announcements as Kiiro embarks on this new chapter.

Thank you for being a part of the Kiiro community.

Warm regards,

Team Kiiro 2020 – 2023, Lilly Wong and Tom Scrimgeour

Co-founders of Kiiro

Sept 2023

Posted on 1 Comment

Moon Installation #No 2

Moon Installation #no2 comprising indigo batik on cotton panels and Yukata Kimono.
Lilly Wong & Tom Scrimgeour in collaboration with Square Roots.
January 2022

We explore the dramatic phases of the moon as it rises into its full shape. As the moons ascend, the darker the indigo panels become sending the moon deeper into the nights sky. The epic industrial environment lends space to the installation, adding to the magnitude and scale of the project and the coming of an optimistic new lunar year.

The steel and pipework feels its way across the factory floor, floating kimono positioned like soldiers, occupy the free space while complimenting the moon phases. These wearable art pieces hang like supernatural beings, phantoms brought alive by the light breeze.

Background

Justin Wheatcroft of Square Roots, approached us at the right time. With his new furniture factory nearing completion, there would be a sweet spot of a few days where we would have autonomy of the expansive space to make something before the factory would be put into operation. Our minds rattled with ideas, and the possibility of producing something on such a colossal scale overshadowed the logistics of how to accomplish such a task. We quickly had a working theme and plan to set us on our way. The installation would be an extension of Lilly’s original Moon Installation #no1 on a much larger scale, and with lunar new year around the corner, the timing was perfect. Justin is Co-Founder & Managing Director at Square Roots – designers and craftsman of contemporary furniture.

In the banner design process, the lunar phases are split into 9 panels, with the new moon forming the centre piece. The moons grow outwards as the indigo panels darken until reaching the two outer bright full moons. The darkest shade of fabric was achieved by over thirty dips into the indigo dye vat.

The Kimono installation mirrors the full moons and creates a wearable part of the collection and a core ethos of our company – wearable art.

From start to finish, this was a labour of love – the hands on approach that drives us. Practical work is play and a vital component of our creativity. The installing of the artwork was lots of fun, helped along by the skilled members of staff at Square Roots.

  • moon phases
  • moon phases

Outcome

The moon’s phases are mathematically aligned as they rise up the banners, giving rhythm to the natural phenomena of our satellite’s orbit around us.

Executing the entire process involved sourcing fabric, planning, designing, painting, indigo dyeing, sewing and assembling the installation. The result is something beautiful made for others to enjoy, handcrafted and validated by the appreciation and personal engagement of others. This purpose has arrived perfectly for Lunar New Year, a connection we all have and an art piece we can all understand and admire; the purpose is to celebrate with everyone.

lilly wong tom scrimgeour moon phases
Posted on Leave a comment

The Judo Pant

This is our essential everyday pant for working, playing and exercising. Inspired by the practicality of the judo pant, with its move-ability and soft light fabrics, these unisex pants are for everyone. Enjoy listening to the latest playlist while reading our blog.

True to our ethos of incorporating functionality into our designs, our pants are designed as an essential item to suit an active lifestyle.  A built in drawstring tie lends a practical element to the judo pant for quick and secure adjustments. The addition of large pockets is modern necessity for carrying ones belongings. We also opted for lighter breathable materials using 100% cotton in our white pants and 100% linen for other colours.

Fun, Comfortable, Active, Stylish; Alex wears the judo pants in his wood workshop and garden.

Lightweight and breathable enough for Yoga, yet durable for day to day wear. Flat fell seam work completes a quality finish, ensuring the pants will last daily use and wash after wash. In the images below, Amy exercises in the white judo pants.

The Judo or Judogi  柔道着 was the first martial arts uniform designed making its first appearance at the beginning of the 20th century. The Judo set consists of a jacket and pants, the jacket’s ancestry being the Kimono, with sleeves continually shortened until its optimum practicality was insured.

Posted on Leave a comment

Art and Noren

Indigo Noren & Moon Art Pieces are on display at Soma

Soma in Thao Dien Ward, Ho Chi Minh City is now host to original art pieces created by lillywong.art for Oi. Read ahead to learn more about the artist’s work, process, how you can commission your own pieces.

About our Noren and Art

Noren 暖簾 are traditional Japanese fabric dividers hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways or in windows. 

The natural Linen has been batik resist dyed to create the circular moons. The deep blue has been submerged in the indigo vat over twenty times to achieve its colour. Varying shades of blue extend out of the white centre revealing the gradation in the dye process. 

The batik process uses beeswax to form a resist on an area of the fabric where the indigo dye cannot permeate. The rest of the fabric takes to the indigo leaving the waxed area white when removed. The work requires much time, patience and love to complete.

The moons came about after long nights of dyeing, with the full moon providing light and inspiration.

Lillys Indigo Batik Moon Norens

Lillywong.art and Kiiro

Co founder Lilly is a practising artist, showcasing her art pieces through Kiiro. The large moons can also be found on a smaller scale in Kiiro’s homeware collection.

Commission your own

Leave us your contact details in the form below if you are interested in owning your own unique piece and Lilly will get in touch.

Indigo Napkins and Runners

In our shop, we have a collection of napkins and table runners available using the same techniques shown in the art pieces. They make a beautiful addition to any table set.

More thoughts on Indigo

Posted on 1 Comment

Our understanding of Blue

The first mention of blue

“And now have I put in here, as thou seest, with ship and crew, while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech, on my way to Temese for copper; and I bear with me shining iron.” Homer – The Odyssey

In all the works of Homer there is no mention of the word blue – instead he describes the ocean as wine dark. This choice of description extends to other ancient civilisations too, from the Hebrew bible to ancient Chinese text, there is no mention or reference to the word blue, whereas black, white, red, yellow and green are mentioned countless times. Why, when colour vision was developed in humans 30 million years ago is this the case?

When linguists analysed this, they found out that in every culture, black and white make there appearance first. They are followed by red, yellow and finally green before blue as a descriptive word enters a given language. There are some strong reasons for this. As black and white distinguish between night and day they initially were the most useful words potentially explaining why they came first. Next, red with its connotation of blood and danger from self wound or the hunting of animals. Early cave paintings are brushed with red pigment. Finally green and yellow taught us to distinguish between ripe and unripe foods. But blue, although notably present in the nature world to us, did not enter our consciousness in the same way until much later.

Blue in Nature

Blue is seemingly everywhere, from clear skies, vast oceans, to tropical birds feathers and flickering butterflies. But are they as they seem? As light refracts across a butterfly or the wings of a bird it is distorted giving our eyes the illusion of blue. The colour is not set. The waters of our oceans are clear as is our air until light works its magic by bouncing through our thin atmosphere and creating a “blue” hue. True blue is very rare and its pigment comes from a leaf first cultivated in India – Indigo.

Manufactured Blue

Experts mostly agree that we began to see blue as a colour when we started making blue pigments around 6000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians loved the the colour blue and used Lapis – a stone mined in Afghanistan mixed with limestone and other ingredients to produce saturated blue pigments. They were the only ancient culture to develop a word for blue before passing on their knowledge to other cultures in the region. However the dye was so expensive that blue remained rare for many centuries. The word started slowly spreading.

It wasn’t until the cultivation of Indigo in Asia and Africa and Woad in Europe that blue started to become more common – indigo being the stronger and more vivid pigment. Until synthesised in the 1900’s it is remarkable that a small green leaf is responsible for all the blue we see now.

Conditioning

Do you remember flash cards when you were learning at school? The teacher would hold up a colour and get you to say it. This process of learning has conditioned us to look for and recognise colours more stronger than we naturally would. Nursery rhymes and other songs sing the greatness of blue and have forever cemented it as the most popular and adored colour of them all.

Kiiro Design

Lilly and Tom of Kiiro love Indigo and passionately maintain their own indigo dye vats, producing garments and fabrics in true natural blue. From napkins and runners to adorn your table, to natural fabrics such as silk and linen turned into beautiful garments, we cannot get enough of Blue.

Posted on Leave a comment

Oi Design Ethos – now KIIRO


Since this article was published we have changed our name. The same ethos still applies.

We have simplified our brand name from Kimono Ơi to Ơi. In Vietnam, the expression Ơi is exchanged between everyone as a term of endearment and affection. You may notice we sometimes exchange the i for ! to make Ơ!. The intention is to grab your attention, subtly.

The R’s of Ơi

Refine – improve and fine tune the artwork, one must remove unwanted elements

Revisit previous work – evaluate the process and learn from the past

Reinvent old ideas, there is nothing wrong with starting over, finished work doesn’t mean its final, nothing is permanent

Resources – utilise existing skills or learn new ones to achieve the the best result

Reduce – don’t overkill – don’t go beyond what is required or suitable

Reflect – consider what went well, what didn’t and how to improve the next time

Ruthless – be ruthless, know when to stop

and always apply an element of fun where ever possible (!)

What is Oi about?

The simple necessities in life and beauty, and the value and appreciation of these things.

A work in progress – how we made Ơi

At Oi, we built our lifestyle brand from logo to products, so far keeping all aspects of design in-house. As an arts educator, Joint Founder Lilly habitually records her ideas; seeing an idea evolve, gaining a better direction and discovering new lessons. This process allows us to see how we are progressing and justify our ideas.

Can your idea be justified?

Asking questions makes good practice; you would want to get it right after all. The right design chooses its time, so one must allow for flexibility, because often than not, circumstances may change forcing one to take a different approach. This can be challenging and therefore it is important to not become too attached to initial ideas.

It always helps to have two minds working together as oppose to one, so always get a second opinion, a good rule of thumb in all life aspects, and always apply an element of fun where ever possible!

Posted on Leave a comment

Earning your stripes – The Butcher’s Apron

Despite the assumption of rising up the military ranks , the expression has its roots in butchery and the culinary world. To earn one’s stripes would be after completing your apprenticeship and qualifying as a trained butcher. With a history dating back to the 16th century, the blue striped apron was the uniform of the trade and that tradition carries to this day, the broad stripe signifying a master butcher from his apprentice. The design is so deeply entrenched in British culture now, it is the go-to design for chefs.

With the help of Cornish butcher Lenard in Cornwall England, we were able to recreate the traditional and iconic stripe used by Butchers and Chefs all over the world. The durable and natural canvas is screen printed with the iconic white stripe. Other features include built-in holders for utensils and kitchen towels and practical pockets for essential items and pen holding. Wear your apron with pride, as chefs and butchers do today.

Custom Embroidery

Mark Lockwood, owner and creator of Sizzle wears his custom embroidered Butchers Apron. Mark makes and sells a wide range of artisan sausages from Saigon’s Thao Dien.

Posted on Leave a comment

Summer Yukata 浴衣

夏 With the heat upon us and with spending more time outdoors, what could be better than wearing absolute comfort throughout the summer.

YU-KA-TA – 浴衣

A yukata is a summer unlined Kimono usually made of cotton, literally meaning “bathing cloth”. Worn by men and women with straight-cut fabric and wide sleeves. With a bout of good weather, they can be seen worn all over Japan. Their versatile, adaptable, stylish and comfortable form making them popular with all generations, and flattering for all body shapes. They are designed to wrap around your body as opposed to western clothing that is cut to fit your body. The Yukata is folded left over right and tied in place with an Obi or a sash as is included with each Kimono Oi Yukata.

INDIGO & POP!

There are new unisex additions to both our collections such as our hand-painted indigo to pattern our cotton Indigo Yukata. Our Pop line comprises of lightweight printed natural cotton and thicker striped cotton for snug home comfort. Each Yukata comes with a matching sash and built-in pockets for added function. View the collection by clicking on the images below.

  • Yukata
    Yukata
    £197
Yukata cotton

Posted on Leave a comment

The functional Chef’s apron # No. 1

Saigon is a food and beverage town. The range of gastronomic options in Vietnam’s largest city are vast, and with good fortune, we have been able to enjoy them during most of the pandemic. We asked ourselves and spoke to other chefs – What should an Apron be?

Chef’s asked for the following –

chef requirements for an apron- 
1. lightweight and breathable material
2. durable and washable
3. comfortable
4. Functional for useful items.

Aside from the metal buckles, the whole apron is made from a breathable cotton canvas, resulting in a comfortable, strong, and light apron that will last. The craftsmanship is kept to the high standards we are proud of across all of our range with re-enforced double stitch-work for long-lasting strength.

KIIRO in London

“Keep it simple, stupid”

Functional patch pockets accommodate the essentials, pens, and phone. Holders on either side of the apron grip utensils, tongs, or towels for handling hot plates and cleaning down surfaces.

Two colour ways – chef’s blue and baker’s canvas.

  • The presentable dark blue canvas keeps the grease and mess that come with working in a kitchen less visible.
  • A light baker’s apron makes a smart option for working with flour.

A professional touch.

Add your company logo or personal Instagram handle with multicolour embroidery. Custom industry sizing available.

Technical Specs.

  • Adjustable neck strap
  • Super durable and breathably light cotton canvas
  • Practical pockets for items and pens.
  • Towel and Utensil holders
  • STRENGTH – Re-enforced double stitch work.
  • Designed & handmade by Kimono-Oi in Saigon.

Material and Care

  • 100% Cotton Canvas 8oz
  • 91cm (35.82in) x 80cm (31in)
  • Metal Adjustable Elements
  • Cold Machine Wash
  • Iron as needed

F & B Enquiries and Orders

First Name
Last Name
Email
Message
The form has been submitted successfully!
There has been some error while submitting the form. Please verify all form fields again.
Posted on Leave a comment

Shibori & Indigo: The lovers of Kiiro

Shibori is the ancient Japanese craft of resist-dyeing – a technique used to embellish cloth in Japan for over 4000 years. The Japanese verb Shiboru means “to wring, squeeze, press”. Shibori requires manipulating the cloth by tying, twisting, folding, scrunching, and then securing the fabric before exposing it to dye. Areas with more resistance will not absorb the dye. One can find Shibori in textiles for fashion and interiors. The mysterious and spontaneous qualities of Shibori inspire many from all over the world, as such its patterns and tactile approach enjoy very high popularity.

Why is the Shibori kimono crop by Kiiro unique?

For our Indigo line, we favour the Japanese hand resist dyeing technique Shibori to create our patterns, making every piece completely unique – no two pieces are the same. The Indigo Crop Kimono is made from 100% silk produced in Vietnam.

As with all our kimonos from the Indigo Line, we also dye the fabrics using locally sourced natural indigo in Vietnam.

Why Kiiro love Shibori?

Aside from each piece always being completely unique, there is a beautiful and sublime imperfection to a Shibori design. You can account for a lot in planning, but the element of surprise will prevail, giving you more than what you intended. The aesthetic can often be described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. This is a concept derived from Buddhist teachings of the three marks of existence. Richard Powell shares three similar realities – “Nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect” This is why Kimono Oi love Shibori.

Wabi Sabi – Lilly’s Long Time Obsession

An early philosophy Lilly Wong of Kiro applied to her art and teaching practices during her uni days; all art students should take a leaf out of the book – “Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers” by Leonard Koren. Eastern Asian aesthetics is one of the most beautiful and sublime.

The Wabi-Sabi book represents a Japanese world view or aesthetic centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

How Kiiro uses Shibori

Shibori can be meticulously prepared, with each pattern planned and repeated. Kimono Oi use their playful nature, utilising accident and chance, only applying an element of control and leaving the rest to the unknown.