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Meisen silk was produced in Japan from the late nineteenth century and became particularly popular between 1910 and 1940. Meisen was an innovative, quick and cost-effective dye and weaving method with the effect of labor-intensive and multicolored traditional kasuri ikat fabric. The meisen kimonos that were produced en masse were the first affordable ready-to-wear kimonos.
Designed by a young generation of Japanese textile designers who synthesized classic Japanese design with the influence of Western design movements, the patterns still look fresh and original today and represent a little-known study in textile design of the early twentieth century.
As eminent fashion garments, meisen kimonos would be replaced with the next new fashion after just a season or two. Thus many of them were stored in excellent condition and were even passed down as heirlooms. In recent years they have resurfaced and are now enjoying the high esteem bestowed on them by collectors.