Press Release:– On Tuesday November 3rd, 2020, a Saint Lucia-inspired kimono was featured at an inaugural Culture Day event held in Toshima Ward, Tokyo alongside kimonos representing Bangladesh and Greece.
Mrs. Margaret Lubrin Aoki (Maggie) – a native of the rural community of Jacmel, and one of several Saint Lucians residing in Japan, modeled the one-of-a-kind kimono from the Imagine One World Kimono Project.
The final design was created by the award-winning designer Mr. Nishiyama Sensho from Kyoto, and combined ideas from the first and second place winners of a preliminary university design contest.
The pieces were made using 100% Japanese silk using traditional Japanese hand-weaving and painting techniques.
The piece costs roughly US$20,000 and was funded through co-seed donations.
The Kimono (main garment) features several elements depicting Saint Lucia’s physical features and culture with colors that reflect those of the national flag.
The rays of the golden sun on the left shoulder caress the towering iconic twin Pitons which rise from the surrounding cerulean blue sea.
The endless green land is studded with a colorful assortment of flowers like the hibiscus. The Obi (waistband or wrap) inspired by the centerpiece of the Cathedral in Castries ties the kimono together with solid black, accentuated by white stripes and blue detail.
Mrs. Aoki who has lived in Toshima Ward for the past seven years and teaches international understanding reflected on the opportunity to wear this rare piece: “This is like a dream come true and I want to convey more about the culture of Saint Lucia through this kind of project.”
Toshima Ward is part of the Host Town Initiative which uses human, economic and cultural exchanges to connect local Japanese towns and countries/regions participating in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Saint Lucia and Bangladesh are the two countries that it is currently hosting.