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Real or Fake? A Cheat Sheet
by Christina (comtesse_de_lis)
at August 22nd, 2010 (09:42 am)

If you're new to buying kimono and don't know much about them, here's a quick cheat sheet to help you tell authentic kimono from the roughly eight million fakes out there.

Any of the following marks a kimono as a fake (sometimes politely called "tourist kimono", as tourists are the only people who will buy them):

-Made of cheap, shiny polyester or Chinese brocade

-No seam down the middle of the back

-Comes with a matching belt made of the same material and design

-The site or seller has more than one of the exact same thing, or the same pattern in a different color (*The exception to this can be cotton summer kimono and high-quality synthetic kimono, as both are mass produced. Fortunately, neither type resemble the cheap bathrobe-looking garments usually found online.)

-The collar is a different color than the rest of the kimono (*The exception being underkimono, called juban)

-It's knee length or shorter. Vintage adult kimono, while being shorter on most Westerners, still shouldn't hit any higher than mid-calf unless you're extremely tall.

-It comes in small, medium and large, or a number size (8, 10, etc.). Beyond the occasional "tall" size, kimono are not marked in Western-styled sizes.

-It has pockets, belt loops, or a quilted collar.

Feel free to add any more telltale signs of a fake you can think of, and happy shopping!

Comments

Posted by: Daeg (perthro)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)

Large embroidered designs on the back of the "kimono", like poppies or dragons. Kimono, unless they're ofurisode, are usually not heavily embroidered at all- and certainly not in dragon patterns.

If the "obi" it comes with looks like a padded box with a little overhand bow sewn to it, it isn't a kimono. I've made better tsuke obi from real damaged obi before, and there is no excuse to glue fabric over couch stuffing and call it an otaiko.

Although, on rare occasion, a dance kimono might have a collar that is a different colour- but that colour is usually black, hearkening back to old days where a black velvet collar was in fashion on kimono.

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