Kyoto designers give the traditional garments a stylish twist.
It’s been about a year since kimono and traditional clothing maker Wazigen Shizukuya started the gradual reveal of its 10th anniversary collection, which has included samurai hoodies and other apparel that reimagines feudal era clothing with some decidedly modern twists. Now, it’s time for the Kyoto-based designers to show their hand with the final stage of their celebration of hitting the one-decade mark, which takes the form of two very unique pairs of hakama, or the pants worn with kimono.
Billowy and multi-folded, hakama are generally made from fabric. But for its Opus.10 series, Wazigen Shizukuya has instead made them from genuine leather.
Given the extensive amount of stitching required to make hakama, producing these unique examples using leather was no doubt a time-intensive affair for Wazigen Shizukuya’s craftsmen. Nevertheless, they rose to the challenge, and the end result is both unprecedented and eye-catching.
The first model is called Akatsuki, meaning “Dawn,” and has a deep, almost wine color.
But if you want to get as much use as possible out of your hakama, you might want to opt for the Hayabusa (“Falcon)” version, which is easier to coordinate with due to its basic black leather.
However, this high fashion comes with a high price. The Hayabusa is priced at 420,000 yen (US$3,750), while the Akatsuki is an even heftier 480,000 yen.
Those prices aren’t just a result of all the work that goes into the Hayabusa and Akatsuki, but also the sheer amount of leather. Due to their complex construction, hakama require far more material than a normal pair of pants. In fact, the amount of raw materials required is closer to how much you’d use to make a business suit, and each of the Opus.10 hakama needed one and a half entire cowhides to put together.
Also contributing to the cost is the fact that Wazigen Shizukuya isn’t mass-producing these leather hakama. Only one of each style will be made, so while they’ll cost you a pretty penny, you can be absolutely certain of avoiding the potential embarrassment of someone else showing up in the same outfit as you for your meeting with the shogun.