The Obi

The Obi (帯, おび) is a traditional Japanese sash or fabric belt typically worn with a kimono or keikogi by both men and women.

This traditional belt was first used to secure the overlapping front panels of the garments (and keep them from opening) in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), after the hakama went out of fashion (wide pants women wore under kimonos), and the kosode (short sleeved kimono) became longer.

In the Edo period marks the advent of kimonos with extremely long and wide sleeves, which completely changed the proportions of the garment, and led the obi to become increasingly wider, longer and more cumbersome to wear. Over time, women started tying the obi on the back side of the garment, but the custom did not become established until the 20th century.

Discover Unico, the bow tie made from a precious silk Obi.

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