St. Thomas Aquinas High School senior Risa Shimizu, 18, will take a trip down memory lane when she models kimonos Sunday during the free annual Japanese Spring Festival at Miami Beach Botanical Garden.
“It is an honor to be able to wear the kimono because it represents the Japanese culture,” said Shimizu, who was born in Malaysia to Japanese parents. “There are many people that don’t know what it means. It is an opportunity to express the Japanese culture all around.”
Sunday’s kimono fashion show will be designer Hiromi Asai’s fourth event in South Florida. She established her titular fashion brand by creating simple and sophisticated women’s and men’s styles made by Japanese textiles using traditional handmade Kimono manufacturing techniques.
In 2016, she attended New York Fashion Week as an official designer and presented her collection. On Sunday, Asai will present a kimono fashion show that will feature a variety of designs, including a furisode that is traditionally worn by unmarried women in Japan, as well as hiki furisode and an uchikake, formal bridal kimonos.
“Kimonos are strongly linked to Japanese history,” Asai said. “It is a piece of Japan. Kimonos have a long history of over 1,000 years. Kimonos represent Japanese art, culture and fashion.”
In the past, Japanese wore kimonos on a daily basis. Now, they’re worn on special occasions such as weddings, funerals and tea ceremonies.
Asai, who moved to Miami five years ago with her husband Takashi Asai, a medical researcher at the University of Miami, said kimonos transmit a cultural message.
“Kimonos are a mutual and cultural understanding,” she said.
It takes about six months to design a kimono and the traditional garments usually carry high price tags. One of Asai’s designed kimonos could cost about $5,000, she said.
Sunday’s volunteer models at Miami Beach Botanical Garden are local high school and university students.
As for Shimizu, a first-time model, she anticipates butterflies. “I don’t know what to expect, but the day of I’ll be nervous,” she said.
If you go
▪ What: Japanese Spring Festival.
▪ Where: Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr.
▪ When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Kimono fashion show at 1 p.m.
▪ Tickets: Free, presented by the Consulate General of Japan in Miami. Visit www.mbgarden.org for more information or to RSVP.
In addition to the kimono fashion show, activities throughout the day will include taiko drumming performances by Fushu Daiko; ikebana floral design demonstration and workshops; origami lessons; an authentic Japanese tea ceremony; a children’s arts corner and storytelling; anime-themed vendors; and Japanese-inspired face painting. Bento lunch boxes and snacks will be available for purchase.