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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

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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.

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Happi Working – the philosophy of everyday wear for everyone.

We have made a traditional work jacket for a modern lifestyle. The Indigo Happi is for lovers of simple functionality. This understated piece is perfect for everyday use.

Steve Jobs once commissioned Issey Miyake to help him design a uniform for Apple. Thinking it would help create a sense of team unity, what came out of it however was a uniform for Steve and his signature turtleneck and jeans look was born. Jobs’ autobiography reads – “That’s what I wear, I have enough to last for the rest of my life.”

There is a no-fuss, practical, no distraction mantra to having an everyday garment in your wardrobe. Something simple and functional for minimal distraction and focus.

Happi History

Ideal for modern living, the Happi is a short length kimono akin to a jacket. It has a rich history as an item for all – from the working class to the wealthy, men and women. The jacket has a large role being used for uniform, becoming protective workwear for labourers and even firefighters who would embellish their designs to the garment.

Now more of a fashion statement than workwear, it is worn at festivals and is very popular as a comfortable, carefree and everyday jacket.

The Happi’s role as a uniform lives on with many companies, film production teams and restaurants outfitting their staff in matching Happi to give group unity.

Kimono Oi Classic Indigo Happi

When designing we looked at creating something simple and purposeful but unique at the same time. We have introduced our Classic Happi with purpose – to be unisex and for everyone, and to be functional with two large pockets that contrast the dark indigo lapel. Built-in ties neatly secure the garment together or hang out of sight when not in use.

The Happi is made from hand-dyed linen with a beautiful indigo painted silk lining.

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A History of the Kimono

Japanese design is globally celebrated. Seeing it gives you a taste of beautiful, functional simplicity. Even better, a visit to Japan is an education in simplicity in form. This design practice is evident in the traditional clothing – Kimono; meaning “to wear” evolution from the name for clothing into what we have today.


The Kimono is made of panels of straight-line cut fabric. The width of the loom would dictate the size of the fabric panels that come together to form the Kimono. For example, the back of the Kimono is made of two rectangular sheets forming a back seam in the middle. Long sleeves give away one’s marital status, with the longest reserved for single ladies.

The kimono is worn with the lapel left over right, right over left is reserved for those who have passed on to the next life. They are held with a sash (Obi). Choice of the pattern was very important and showed different social status and for use on different occasions.

The ancient history of the Kimono is visible all over Asia. Origins include China with her influences spreading to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. All countries taking influence and creating their own unique fashions. From the tailored and fitted Ao Dai of Vietnam to the Korean Hanbok, key elements and rules remain in place.


The Kimono was popular for its versatility. Heavy silk and hemp lined Kimonos could be worn layered for winter; whereas light linen or cotton Yukata kimono is fitting for humid summers and warmer weather. The flat shape makes for easy folding and storage. In fact, there is a myriad of folding techniques. We have a little guide here for further reading. (BUILD PAGE AND RE LINK)!

Cinema & Pop Culture

The famous image of the Samurai warrior in the 20th-century film brought Kimono to a global audience. Sanjuro played by Torisho Mifune looking cool in his Haori was not just the influence for a whole genre of Hollywood spaghetti westerns, but also the entrance of Japanese clothing to the west.

By the 1970s, David Bowie was incorporating the Kimono into Ziggy Stardust at the beginning of his life long love of Japan. The gender ambiguity of the character is fitting for a garment enjoyed by Men and Women.

Kimono Oi

This article was written by Kimono Oi. We honor, respect, and meticulously research the tradition whilst developing our designs. Functional, versatile, and beautiful, we are passionate about bringing this wearability to everyone.

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Kimono Ơi Pops Up! #1 Soma

Kimono Ơi has held a #checkout #tryon #takehome event at Soma Saigon. It was a great pleasure and opportunity to invite everyone to try our Kimonos on in person. It was a fun and successful event with happy new Kimono Oi owners. Check out the gallery below!

Soma is one of the cities great bar and events spaces with delicious, seasonal & healthy food provided by Chef Rohan of The Green Box.

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Natural Indigo Fermentation Vat ( Parts 1 – 3 )

Local Beginnings.

After Indigo dying for some months now and excessive night-time reading, you realise there are many ways to naturally transfer the magical indigo onto fabric. Here in Vietnam it seems only right to go by traditional methods, hence today marks the birth of our fermentation vat. 

After following what instructions we can decipher, now begins the waiting process, exercising new found patience until the bacteria within the vat are quite active enough for the first blue dye. It could likely be a week. 

With much deliberation we decided not just to keep our ingredients locally sourced in Vietnam, but also make it part of our brand ethos.

So stage one is complete – The vat is alive! It just needed nourishment so on the motorbike and down the road we go, to get it’s lunch. 

The fermentor – The Rice Wine Maker – “His hands excitedly dipped the glass into his deep wine vat, and quickly offered me the clear liquid to sample. There’s no knowing how effective the ingredient is, but after a swig and acknowledgement of the high content of alcohol still enjoying fermentation, we now have enough local rice wine to feed our vat and myself” Tom tells Lilly over-excitedly.

We wouldn’t have achieved any of what we are doing without the kindness of our suppliers and advisors. We are forever grateful to understanding friends and their support. 

Kimono-Oi is documenting every aspect of the dye process, from PH indicator tests, through all the errors, learning and breakthrough moments in Indigo dying. Look forward to sharing more with you soon. 

Follow on Facebook, Instagram for updates. 


( Part 2) A deeper shade of blue

“Blue, blue indigo blue.”

Indigo is as old as civilisation, the cultivated green leaf that can give us ‘True Blue’. This magical process requires oxygen and it’s more remarkable than you’d think. When the fabric is removed from the vat, at first it is yellow until the oxygen in our air turns it into the colour of oceans, of sky. 

Test dying is now producing some nice deep blues. Each step in colour shows another dip in the vat. Achieving a deep blue can take many submersions..

Vat Maintenance Diary

  • I took daily records checking the PH level was at a high alkaline reading.
  • I fed the vat daily
  • I kept it as warm as I could, a challenge in rainy season. Luckily Saigon temperature rarely drops below 30. All in all, I have to listen to the vat and can’t neglect it for too long. I must be patient. Like True Blue, I am unwavering in my commitment and extremely loyal to my duty.

Next week…. we dye.

( Part 3 ) We’ve only got eyes for blue.

The wait is almost over. Kimono Oi are days away from revealing the first garments. It’s been really hard keeping it all under wraps.

We dye in the Vietnamese tradition. Each piece of fabric must be submerged multiple times to achieve a deep blue. As many as 20 times. It may all seem time consuming and it is, but the results speak for itself. A beautiful natural finish is achieved, that will age gracefully over time.

Dyeing in this manner is sustainable and natural. Everything we use is sourced in Vietnam and it gives us great pleasure to keep everything local too.