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Kimono: History Design and Development

Kimono - History Design and Development

London College of Fashion
Taught by
Sheila Cliffe


This unique course is delivered by Sheila Cliffe, the renowned Kimono researcher, author and stylist. The course will start by exploring the history and social importance of this ancient garment.  You will then go on to understand the production of the garment including the textiles used, the dyeing methods and how they are produced.  Finally you will construct a scaled version of a kimono.

The course includes:

  • Background, historical and cultural/social roles 
  • An overview of kimono hierarchy in relation to the methods by which they are made and pattern placement
  • Introduction to the production of silk and silk industry
  • Overview of weaving types and the production processes
  • Overview of dyeing types and the production processes
  • Stencil cutting and dyeing workshop
  • Scaled model kimono construction workshop
  • Kimono as fashion
  • Guest speaker - Kimono Producer

Hear more about this course from tutor Sheila Cliffe on our short course blog


Beginners. You should have an interest in the subject area and a desire to learn but no previous experience is required.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older.


Your course place is confirmed once you have booked online or via the phone using a credit or debit card. There is no deadline for booking. Places are offered on a first come, first served basis, and all courses have a maximum number of students. We suggest you book early to avoid disappointment.

You may also be interested in:

Fashion History: The Evolution of Style

Pattern Cutting using Vintage Techniques

Tutor Description

Sheila Cliffe is a kimono researcher, author and stylist. She has been in Japan for more than 30 years, and her book, “The Social Life of Kimono: Japanese Fashion Past and Present” Bloomsbury, is the result of ten years of research and investigation into the fashion system of the Kimono. It is based on her PhD thesis. “Sheila Kimono Style” is a photographic style book of kimono throughout the year.

Sheila teaches kimono dressing in Japan, and has held dressing demonstrations and kimono exhibitions in the UK, and has presented her research on kimono in several countries. She has held fashion shows for students and young people from around Asia. In 2002 she was given an award for her work spreading kimono from the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Costume. Sheila has made several short You tube films about kimono artisans, and she has been featured in numerous TV programs such as BBC, NHK, NHK World, TV Tokyo, Nippon TV, Asahi TV, etc. Sheila is a kimono trend hunter and myth buster, and her latest research is an investigation into the closets of fifty Japan women. She aims to show the reality of the Japanese wardrobe today. Sheila Cliffe is Professor at Jumonji Gakuen Women’s University and holds a PhD “Revisiting Fashion and Tradition, though the Kimono” from the University of Leeds, UK.


In order to fully participate in the practical exercises please bring the following materials/equipment to the first class:   

  • A piece of cotton dress fabric (size to be confirmed)
  • A simple sewing kit including pins, needles and thread
  • Small cutter knife 

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.