Cultural Detour: Traditional Japanese Textiles Reimagined for the Modern Wardrobe

Pssst.... Win a pair of earrings at the bottom of this post!

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Words by Dyan Reeve / Images by Jennifer Binford Photography

Cultural Detour is traditional, vintage, or antique Japanese textiles reimagined for the modern wardrobe. Handmade by a freckle-faced girl that fell in love with kimonos growing up in Japan.

1. Why and how did you start your company?

Cultural Detour was born from a deep love of kimono, the Okinawan culture and this wild, blue earth of ours.

Growing up on a tiny island, one becomes painfully aware of the great amount of trash we create and the very few options we have to dispose of it. This fact forged my passion for sustainable products and led me to a place of great curiosity about how we can create less waste by making good choices and using the things we already have. I began to take courses, such as Factory 45, consume books, and watch documentaries, like The True Cost, to understand the impact of fashion on our world. More than anything, I wanted my decisions and lifestyle to be more in harmony with how I feel about nature and my community. It slowly unfolded into a passion for living (and working!) more sustainably.

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2. What is your main mission?

To help more than I hurt, to share my affection of a country I wasn't born into but have come to love, and to show my daughters how to chase a dream and never lie down.

Not only do I make and design pieces with love, but I also care about the materials we use. Like you, I want to move away from the mass-produced world that we live in today. We live in a world of fast trends and disposable wardrobes. A time when textiles are made in industrial factories by people that, more often than not, are taken advantage of in the name of cheap clothing. So instead, we create limited collections allowing us to be very intentional with any designs or projects we bring forward. Ensuring the highest quality products with the least impact on our world, but a big impact on your heart!

3. How do you hope your brand affects women’s lives?

I hope we help to connect people to another time and another culture. I hope we get them thinking about having fewer items in their closet and about having items that were not hurtful in their creation and treasured for more generations to come. I hope we remind them that there is freedom in quality over quantity. I hope we remind them that supporting a small business is supporting a family sharing a house full of braces, dinners, dog walks, and bear hugs. I want this experience to be something more for them, for their wardrobe, for our world. I hope our pieces bring an unconscious smile to their lips when they slip on their one of a kind piece.

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4.  We love the rich history and story behind each one of your silk scarves. Why is it important to you to breathe new life into these vintage kimonos?

When I look at a vintage or antique kimono, so many scenes play in my mind's eye. I see the woman who once wore it. Where did she live? What did she dream? Who did she love? How did she approach life? There is something a bit sad to me about that ending in a box tucked away or in the landfill. I can't really live with any of those options. I feel like I am contributing, if only in the smallest way, to preserving the beauty of centuries-old traditions. I also feel like in creating pieces for a modern wardrobe for people across the globe that I am sharing my love for Japan with the world.

5. Cultural Detour is such a great name for the work you’re doing to highlight Japanese textiles. Can you share with us the story behind the name “Cultural Detour” and what it means to you?

Well, I grew up in and continue to be in a military family.  And that means detours. All sorts of detours. Oh, you thought you were doing this? Well, guess what? 11th hour we are doing that. And sometimes that means a cultural detour to go live in Korea for 2 years or Japan for 8.  My passion for global textiles came from these experiences and I feel extremely lucky that I have had these opportunities. I want to show others the beauty of our world through wearable art while supporting traditions methods that are being lost.  Through textiles and photos, I get to invite others on a little Cultural Detour with me!

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Thank you so much for your continued support + enthusiasm. We would like to show our love for you by giving away a set of silk kimono earrings, your choice of design and color.

To be entered into the giveaway:
1.  Follow @culturaldetour on Instagram
2.  Comment on this photo and let us know one (or two or three!) things you love about yourself

A winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Sarah HartleyComment