Mottainai is the Japanese word that refers to that feeling of regret when something is wasted. It is this spirit that drives Aiko Handbags to create these beautiful bags and pouches out of used kimono and obi fabric. Each one is hand-made. Aiko carefully selects and matches different fabrics to come up with tasteful yet functional bags.
It is a tradition in Japan to never waste a beautiful kimono. Even when it became too damaged and stained to wear, many would unpick the kimono and use it to make other accessories such as bags, pincushions and brooches, in order to preserve the beauty and hard work that goes into the creation of each and every kimono. That is what we strive to do every day here at Aiko Handbags, to preserve the art and beauty that is the kimono in modern, useful and practical ways.
No two purses will ever turn out the same. The pattern on the fabric will never fall in the same place twice and the amount of fabric in that particular pattern is very limited, yielding only one, occasionally two bags.
So who is Aiko? She is a young mother who hails from Nova Scotia but who has a great love for Japanese culture. She chose the name Aiko (meaning "well-loved" or "beloved"), a beautiful and feminine name that expressed her feelings about each and every handbag she creates.
I've had a love for Japanese culure since I was in school, starting withanime, manga and J-pop, then growing into more traditional Japanese culture, such as kitsuke (the art of dressing in kimono), tsumamikanzashi (hair ornaments), and I chose to work with kimono fabric out of a simple love and appreciation for this beautiful textile, and a need to share it with others.
Small pouches for cosmetics and what-not.
Clutch bags made from obi (left) and cotton summer kimono (right).
Bigger carry bags too!
See more of Aiko Handbags at the shop. All hand-made in Nova Scotia.
Please contact us for availability and pricing.
(All photos by the ikebana shop. All rights reserved.)