Textile designer and Emeritus Professor at the Royal College of Art Clare Johnston is delving into her fabric archive, collected over 40 years of travelling and teaching, to create unique kimonos based on the traditional Yukata shape. Clare designs and makes each kimono in London, creating with compositions of colour, pattern and scale. No two Kimonos are quite the same, but all feature printed cotton and cotton blends and are available in three sizes and two lengths.
What was your inspiration for this project?
Throughout my career as a textile designer, I have been lucky enough to combine travel with work; this gave me the opportunity to collect textile treasures from across the globe. Even in the most far- flung places there are fabrics shops, and often the most unlikely places are the source of the most unusual and exciting finds. It is not possible for me to visit a new town without seeking the local Fabric or Haberdashery shop even if it is just to touch and admire. After years of collecting printed and woven textiles, my fabric archive inspired me to create a collection of unique kimonos. Since my first visit to Japan in 1977 I have admired Japanese textiles and kimonos. Each kimono has an individual story and identity, creating with compositions of colour, pattern and scale.
What else are you working on?
After 15 years as Head of Textiles at the RCA, in 2015 I stepped down to return to my creative practice, while continuing as Emeritus Professor of Textiles, Senior Research Fellow at the RCA and Visiting Professor at Swedish School of Textiles Boras. Since 2014 I have worked closely with the EU funded Marie Slidovnik Curie ArcInTexETN project at the RCA. I launched my online Kimono Shop in 2017 and personally design, cut and curate each Kimono, composing fabrics, trimmings colour, mixing pattern and scale to give each its own story, identity and name.
For more information visit www.clarejohnston.com
During the past few weeks Clare has been sewing masks for the Masks for Extraordinary People project, creating free face masks for essential workers in London. For more information visit www.masksforextraordinarypeople.org