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Vintage kimonos, often regarded as family heirlooms and passed down through generations, are piling up in Japan’s second-hand markets as the garments fall out of fashion and the country’s population shrinks.

Traditionally the long, loose attire is wrapped around the body in a series of precise folds, lifts and adjustments in a dressing process that could take 25 minutes or longer. Now designers are repurposing high-quality fabric from cast off kimonos to make contemporary outfits more suited to today’s sensibilities and fashion. The transformation is as much an art as science.

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