The rich indigo blue, so prevalent in fashion today, has a long history in Japan and beyond. The dye is known as ai-zome in Japan. It was commonly extracted from polygonum, a species closely related to buckwheat. Aside from its abundance and availability, another appeal of the dye was its durability. The deep blue color fades very slowly from porous fabrics like cotton.
This indigo kimono is workwear for farmers' children to wear and help their parents and grandparents in the fields. The love that was woven into this piece is apparent. It demonstrates the care to make something special with what little they had. The kimono is mended several times over, showing years and years of usage, patched with beautiful small remnants of patterned cotton.