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Archive for Sunday, September 26, 2004

Briefcase

September 26, 2004

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Kimono makers turn to computers, printers

For centuries, Japan's kimono makers have relied on stencils, paintbrushes and hours of manual labor to turn out their elaborate and graceful creations.

Yuko Iwakuma uses an Apple computer and an inkjet printer.

Iwakuma is one of a new breed remaking the ancient Japanese art of kimono, relying on computers to make kimonos with brash new designs and then selling them on the Internet.

The new manufacturing system cuts costs, while the Internet bypasses Japan's cumbersome -- and expensive -- distribution system to retail shops. Digital design and inkjet printing also allow kimono makers to avoid excess inventory and relieve growing concerns about a shortage of skilled hand-dyers.


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