Kimono My House launched on the 4th of June 2021 with a small collection of 100% organic cotton unisex workwear kimonos. The brand was started by Olivia May when she moved back to Devon in the madness of 2020 after an 11 year stint working in luxury fashion in London. After gathering years of experience as a production manager at fashion brands Christopher Raeburn and Toogood, she found herself putting it all to use when developing the Kimono My House collection.
The collection consists of three styles which are designed for The Garden, The House and The Studio.
The first style to be developed was The Garden Kimono. Olivia, like many others, found herself gardening a lot in the summer lockdown and she noticed that although she had a number of “workwear” style jackets, none of them were actually that practical. This time it coincided with her buying a vintage Japanese Hanten Jacket – a workwear style kimono that builders wore on site in the 1950s. Combining the shape and fit of the Hanten and introducing practical pockets and details she now has three beautiful and well thought out designs.
The Garden Kimono is made in heavy fabric and has four large front pockets. On one side, the pockets have tool loops along the top to hold secateurs, trowels and forks. There is an internal pocket for your phone and a removable magnet patch on the chest. This ingenious detail is to hold tools for quick access or smaller items like nails and screws. It is something you didn’t think you needed on a jacket but The Garden Kimono proves that you do.
The Studio Kimono is made in a mid weight fabric and has a slightly slimmer shape with slimmer sleeves. It has 3 large pockets and a removable pull-up pen and pencil pocket on the left side, a clever design for the things that often get lost. Like The Garden Kimono, The Studio Kimono also has the internal phone pocket and the magnet patch, perfect for pins, needles and snips. This style was designed for creatives, makers and studio dwellers.
The House Kimono is made in light weight fabrics and is designed with more of a traditional kimono in mind. It is long and voluminous, with wide sleeves and it can be worn open or wrapped closed. The House Kimono has a back waist cord channel which has small holes on each side seam. This means that it can be cinched in at the waist for a more feminine look and you can wrap from either the left side or right side, depending on your preference. House Kimono has 2 large pockets and an internal phone pocket.
"I have designed these kimonos to be worn, looked after, handed-down and loved, whether you’re wearing yours in the garden, studio or house. I want people to be considerate when purchasing clothes so I stick to the mantra – Choose Well, Buy Less." OLIVIA MAY
A lot of thought has gone into the design of each kimono and they took a full year to develop before launching with a small production run made in Portugal in Organic Cotton. The new collection that launched in 2023 are made in London and from dead stock sourced fabrics. Olivia trawls fabric warehouses for hours to find leftover rolls of corduroy, cottons, canvases and anything else she thinks would be perfect for a kimono. This way of working is time consuming but is so rewarding to give something that is already on this planet a second chance to be made into something beautiful. The factory the kimonos are made at in London are dear to Olivia’s heart. They are a family run, small unit who’s quality are the best she has found in the UK. She says ‘It feels so good to be making in the UK from fabric that is sourced 20 minutes from the factory, no air miles, less stress and supporting other home grown small businesses – it feels like a collaborative effort and makes running my business a joy’.
As highlighted above, sustainability has a strong part to play in the Kimono My House ethos. The kimonos are all sustainably sourced fabrics and are 100% recyclable. They all come with a beautiful Sashiko repair kit to ensure that you can repair and look after your kimono, making it last a lifetime.
Image credits: Tara Birch Studio