Posts Tagged ‘Authentic Kimono’

Is Your Kimono Real or Is It Counterfeit?

Monday, September 20th, 2021

Chopa, your Kimono Source takes pride in offering authentic Japanese Kimono and Yukata.  The beautiful robes we sell are expertly cut and sewn in Japan by experienced, veteran artisans. The relationships with our manufacturers date back several decades because of our mutual trust and understanding of the fine art of the kimono. These beautiful robes have become today’s distinctive loungewear in the West. Whether relaxing at home, the spa or meditating in your sacred space, comfort and style is at your side.

Some might question how a Japanese Kimono can be anything else, but in today’s marketplace, companies often misrepresent what a kimono is and imposters and counterfeits are more abundant than ever. It was about fifteen years ago, when Kim Kardashian gained notoriety by starring in her own pornographic video.  She again made headlines two years ago when she launched a line of undergarments to compete with the renowned brand, Spanx™, and named hers Kimono. Kardashian was harshly criticized in the media about cultural misappropriation and lack of cultural sensitivity. After feeling the heat and even receiving a letter from the Mayor of Kyoto, the name was changed to Kimono Solutionwear™.

If you perform a search on Amazon, eBay, Etsy or any fashion retail sites, chances are pretty good that you can locate what we refer to, as a counterfeit Kimono or at a minimum a misrepresentation. Since sellers can call anything they want a kimono, it isn’t technically a counterfeit, but we we use the word because we feel it is deceptive. This isn’t to say that a Kimono made in another country isn’t a Kimono, but it is not truly a Japanese Kimono. In Japan, the word “Kimono” translates as the “thing to wear”, but it was never intended to mean that anything should be called Kimono. In today’s fashion world, the word Kimono is often used for a simple piece of fabric worn over clothes. Most have no belts or sash and have become synonymous with everyday fashion. Most appear to be open shirts, long or short, no buttons, and worn loose and open. They might pair and be worn over jeans, shorts, dresses and the like. But we feel calling these oversized, open worn shirts a kimono is wrong. We don’t portray ourselves as fashion branding experts in any sense, but even Google is confused when they show these “oversized garments” as kimono.

Consumers must be diligent when looking for authentic products from a specific geographic location. This especially holds true with Japanese Kimono and Yukata. We performed a few searches recently on Amazon and discovered “counterfeit” or misrepresented robes.  Sellers use descriptions of Japanese Kimono, Japanese yukata, Japanese Robe, but careful research further down the description section proved they were not from Japan at all. One way to tell if a seller is using deception is by the price. On Amazon, there are dozens of so-called Japanese Kimono offered below $25. As a dealer in Japanese kimono for nearly 30 years, we can firmly state that we have ever seen a new $25.00 kimono for sale that is made in Japan. More likely they are produced in China.

Another flag of caution is to look at the reviews on Amazon as they often tell a story. For instance, here is one review we found:

“The description and Q&A led me to believe this was made in Japan. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was a Made in China tag so I didn’t even try it on. It appears to be folded and packaged beautifully but the floral pattern is not as attractive as it looks in the pictures.”

Another reviewer stated that although she believed it was made in Japan, when she received it, the outer package said made in China, but the tags were in Japanese. When she contacted the vendor, they claimed it was made in China but was produced for Japanese export.

Another review said the following:

“The one I just received has a Made in China tag. Very disappointed.”

Other reviews stated that the kimono they received was polyester and not cotton as advertised on the site. Other responses on Amazon had issues with sizing. One posting that he is a size large in the U.S. The robe he received was believed to be a size medium at best.

One additional post claimed the following:

“Please use American size. This kimono is too small for an extra-large American man. Also, this is NOT a kimono, this is a hospital wrap, NOT a Kimono as requested.”

Granted, not every person is 100% satisfied with their purchase. This is why it is important for your own mental state to deal with a USA based provider of Kimono and Yukata. Returns are much easier and understandable. Chopa has a very limited number of returns and we believe that is due to accurate descriptions and honest verbiage. We know that everybody has a different body style, but we attempt to provide information that helps you find the right size without having to make a return.

Deception goes beyond some Amazon sellers. We surfed Etsy and found similar issues with sellers.

One seller claimed:

Our Japanese inspired kimonos are made from a blend of soft Indonesian silk and viscose from Java Indonesia, making it soft and as appealing as silk or satin, with a more affordable price!”

The key phrase to pick up on is “Japanese Inspired”. Inspiration doesn’t make it Japanese made. They are more upfront than other sellers since they disclosed that they make their robes out of Indonesian silk and viscose.  Viscose is usually cheaper or as they state, affordable, because viscose is a synthetic fabric made from chemicals.

We discovered another seller claiming Japanese Kimono, but in the fine print in the description, we observed “made in the volcanic Island of Bali.”  The last we checked; Bali isn’t Japan. The bottom line for us is that if it is truly Japanese, then clearly state that it is made in Japan.

We don’t portray that a kimono made elsewhere won’t provide you joy and satisfaction wearing it, but we believe in honesty and fair advertising. If you see offers similar to these examples, buyer beware. You might get lucky and find a great deal on a robe, but as we hear from many of our customers, they wished they had bought from us in the first place. Transactions are smooth and returns are simple. Shipping a robe back to Florida is much less expensive than China or Indonesia. Decide what you want and go find it. Don’t let sellers deceive you.

Blog about deceptive kimono sellers

Is your Kimono real?

Image courtesy of Anna Tarazevich