Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from kay me!

Seasons greetings and a Merry Christmas from kay me! We wish everyone a wonderful holiday this season and we hope everyone spends ample time with their loved ones.

Here in Tokyo, our office keeps running until New Years Holiday begins. See our Winter Holiday Services hours for more details on our operation hours over New Years.

At kay me, we have always strived to bring our motto of  ‘Instant Elegance, Day-long Comfort” to the modern woman – to be there with them in their moments of glory and to support them in their times of challenges.

This year may have impacted all of us, and at kay me, we were more driven to rise to the challenge and find new opportunities among these times. With the year almost to a close, we take a quick look back at 2020 and prepare for what’s to come in 2021! Here are a few of the highlights!

At our Shinjuku Lounge, our Design Lab where we asked our customers what they want to see in the future from kay me

Our Virtual Services launch, offering a Virtual Styling Consultation and a Personal Styling Carte for our customers staying home

From the second half of the year, we opened 3 new store across the region – Yurakucho (Tokyo), Yokohama and Kyoto

Compared to a year prior, kay me has had an incredible growth of international diversity and an increased number of female management. 

See more of our kay me 2020 highlights and events here

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of kay me. Look forward to a new year and more exciting events to come!

What to wear… for a 2020 Autumn to Winter Date

It seems like long ago since the time when we would dress up, maybe put on a pair of gorgeous shoes and go to a restaurant or café on a date. While the dating norm may have shifted online or to socially-distanced walks or picnics at the park, from time to time we still want to go back to those days and feel our most confident, and make the occasion more special.

At kay me, we want you to feel beautiful and your most confident, every time in our pieces and find the best solution for your occasion. So we bring you our top looks you can wear in these colder season that look great over a skype date and outdoors too.

Dazzling Touch of Glamor

Add a touch of sparkle and heighten the occasion with our Bijou range in tops and cardigans. With Swarovski crystal-embellished details that not only look elegant and classy, but frames your neck and face – perfect over online calls or meeting face-to-face! Made of a stretchy knit knitted in Kanazawa that you can machine-wash too, for warm, cozy comfort at home and out.

For the full chic ensemble, we recommend pairing the bijou pieces with its matching knit long skirt, that you can wear over leggings – elongating, elegant and providing complete coverage in the colder weather.

Available in Milky White or Charcoal Gray

Romantic Emeralds and Rubies

A Winter Rose in our Tsubaki Dress

Step into the date with dark tones of reds and emeralds – both beautiful colors to capture the eye and deepen the mood. Each piece with a V-neckline that frames your neck and face on screen while also fits the A/W backdrop outside. And since our pieces are designed to accentuate the body and provide the upmost comfort out, you can feel better knowing you look great on screen or outdoors and even more comfortable too.

A little extra!

Round off the style with a soft knit cardigan, and a pair of matching boots, with heat-insulated inner lining for better heat retention for your feet!

Romance in a Little Knit Dress

If you are looking for more warm with a feminine flair, then a knit dress is the perfect go-to. Our Milano Rib Knit range is super stretchy, made-in-Japan quality and comes in stunning vibrant colors that complete the autumn/winter style. From pure Milky White, romantic Cherry Pink, vibrant Red in round neck and V-neck, as well as cool and collected Olive or Charcoal gray. Not to mention, any of these dresses make for the perfect dress to work in – a versatile piece for any occasion!

For a day or night date out, we recommend layering with a warm pair of boots, a handmade stole and a vegan riders jacket for a grown-up casual touch.

For more items designed to keep you cozy this season, see our range of soft fleece-lined dresses or warm underdresses for the perfect support.

The Bag Story – Part 2. A Respect of Artistry

In the first Bag Story, we looked at the conceptualization and initial design and construction process of the dream bag. In this piece, we look at the final steps of completion – the artisans’ last touches to finish the dream bag.

After the pieces were punched out using the 43 different molds, we thought it was time to sew; but there were many dire steps to prepare that followed.

The “Skiving” Process.

The pieces must be prepared accordingly with a before sewing could begin. The first being the “skiving” process. Here the artisan thins out the edges of the vegan material with his chisel in uniform fashion, making sure each edge has the desired thickness in order to bond all the pieces together seamlessly down to the inner lining.

The artisan doesn’t thin them out just once – each individual piece is thinned again around the outer edge so they can be folded and sewn with ease. Shaving each edge requires perfect control- guiding just the edge of each piece through the skiving machine and moving the piece with the curves – one mistake could leave the piece unusable. Therefore, only an experienced and skilled craftsman could handle this, for all 90 pieces for each bag. Such a meticulous and painstaking process and we could not help but admire the remarkable skill and perseverance that it meant to be a craftsman of this caliber.

A Matter of Speed and Accuracy

After the skiving is finished, the pieces must be reinforced with interlining, using a specific tacky glue that dries quickly. To paste the interlining and bond the pieces together, speed and accuracy are of the essence.

Time for the craftsmen to shine!

Now, we take a look at “Edge folding”. This process is all finished by hand, relying on only the craftsman’s hands, his tools and a lot of his time. Each edge is carefully folded to the desired shape The edges of the materials are carefully bent to create the desired line, and with curves the edges have to be pleated ever so finely for a natural, beautiful finish inside and out. This folding and pleating requires impeccable  patience, and calls for the craftsman’s skills and aesthetic sense to shine through.

Meticulous Attention to Detail

Once the edges are folded, then it is time to start putting each piece together. As each piece varies in thickness, the sewing machine must be altered each time to best suit the individual piece. This step requires technical skills and intuition accumulated through many years of experience.

The Last Step: The “Quality Check”

After the sewing process, each bag is examined for its quality. They are thoroughly checked for lint, faults in the material, distortion, and any other imperfections.

And with the final check, the 29 Pocket Wallet Bag is finished!

Through the craftsmen’s experienced skills and artistry were we able to create the dream bag, and left a deepened respect for Japanese craftsmen, not only for their exquisite skills, but also for their ideology.  We hope to be able to support the prosperity of their skills and traditions for generations to come.

The Final Product!

Simple, yet highly functional, with a sleek and premium couture design
Inside of the 29 Pocket Wallet Bag. Perfect for overseas trips and parties. Keep everyday essentials all in one place!
The lightweight material is water-repellant and cruelty-free
Storage for two separate currencies
Perfect for business scenarios, with 4 ample storage pockets to hold business cards
Place your IC card in the back pocket for an easy touch & go

kay me’s dream bag in fruition – the 29 Pocket Wallet Bag. See its full features and range on our website or to see more ethically, made-in-Japan bags, see our Bag Range.

The Bag Story – The Craftsmanship that made a Dream come alive

In this 2-part article, we will take you behind the makings of one of our popular designs – the 29 Pocket Wallet Bag. In Part 1, we take you behind the story of its conception and explore the design and production process.

There was never just a bag that could do all the things that she needed – one bag that you can travel with, use for a home party or special event; even take to the office every day. The perfect bag with the versatility to use in all these scenarios, yet was compact and had ample storage for all her essentials. Frustration led to inspiration as Junko Kemi, founder of kay me, created the 29 Pocket Wallet Bag to resolve these problems.

The 29 Pocket Wallet Bag was designed by kay me founder Junko Kemi’s vision of the most ideal bag that could be used for overseas travel, business events, and dinner parties. She decided to list up what she needed in the new design from pain points she faced with her bags in different scenarios.

For example, for international flights…

  1. It can store my passport, pen, and smartphone together
  2. Have space to store eye drops and lipstick inside instead of carrying a separate makeup pouch
  3. During international travels, it can store two currencies in separate compartments
  4. Let me walk around the airport hands-free
  5. Be super compact! The easier it is to carry, the easier the trip will be!

For business parties…

6. Have four separate card slots to store and organize business cards
7. Have special slots for important items such as credit cards and keep them close
8. It can easily store my compact foundation and eyebrow pencil for touch-ups
9. I can wear it as a crossbody when exchanging business cards or if I have a glass in my hand
10. Is simple, subtle and doesn’t draw too much attention from others, and I can easily cover my bag’s content from curious eyes

For dinners…

11. I can transform the bag from when I am on-the-go to a minimalistic clutch easily for dinner
12. I want something classy for special occasions – like champagne gold or silver colors

The list keeps on going!

But no bag was to be found that could meet all of these requirements, so instead, it was simply decided that we make it ourselves. And thus we began researching.

We began by asking a few simple questions like “How should we fit a passport in the bag?” “What thickness is necessary to fit both makeup and a smartphone?”

Taking all these points in, we started measuring the items and worked out a size that would fit all the items we needed.

Of course, a must-have factor would be it had to be made of vegan, sustainable, premium quality material and put together using only highly skilled craftsmanship

The Journey of the Dream Bag begins!

Bringing the Concept to Life

First, the process began from choosing what is necessary, functional, and smart to deploy. Each pocket size, width, and length was carefully calculated, and incorporated into the design.

When all these factors were deliberated on with our design team, the compact 29-pocket wallet bag was created – and we were all surprised by the amount of parts in this bag!

Finding the Perfect Factory

With the concept solidified, and the design drawn out, we began the search for a bag factory in Japan that would bring this design to life. After asking our peers and endless Google searches, we narrowed down the list and started making the rounds to several factories. Our complex 29-pocket wallet bag design made from vegan material was seen as a great challenge for many factories, and it was rejected by them.

Will it have to sacrifice its functionality and beauty for the sake of acceptance?

After a long period of searching, we finally found a bag factory in Yamagata that was up for the challenge. After sharing our vision and creating the blueprint, our prototype was finally made.

The prototype was made with the same shape, size, and pocket numbers as the final product so we could test the true functionality of it

Although this was still a prototype, seeing our concept become a tangible object was incredibly moving.

43 Different Molds!

After checking the prototype, the real production process began. First, the molds for the materials were made. These molds had a sharp edge on one side to punch through the material. The molds are made from a long, thin ribbon-like metal that is bent to create the desired shape and size. All of them were custom-made and shaped just to make this bag. On top of that, as the outer lining, interlining, and inner lining are all different materials with varying thicknesses, each pattern piece of the bag requires 1-3 different molds with different blades to cut that individual piece.

In total, 43 custom-made molds for this wallet bag was made!

The craftsmen used each mold to individually cut each piece by hand. 1 bag called for 90 individual pieces from the lining to outer, meaning the craftsmen had to hand-cut 90 times.

We asked the craftsmen if it was possible to layer the material to cut several at a time, but they responded that it wasn’t possible. It could only be cut one layer by one, as to not risk distorting the blade as it cut, leaving the pieces mis-matched and thrown away.

It was here that we finally realized how much work is needed to make this ‘Dream Bag’.

To see the range of 29 Pocket Wallet Bags, click here. Its story continues in Part 2 coming soon!

Going Vegan on Fur Coats

At kay me, we are always looking towards new technology to create elegant solutions to the modern woman’s wardrobe. This time, we took a look at the winter fur coat, and sought to develop a luxury alternative that was just as high-quality and beautiful, but made from 100% vegan materials made with the latest technology. Today, we will share a quick look behind our material selection process of our Eco Fur Coat.

Our journey to developing an elegant, animal-free ‘fur’ coats, started with finalizing the designs for the coats and setting up a meeting with our suppliers. There, we were surprised by what materials we were about to find.

The Supplier Meeting

During the meeting, a variety of material samples were introduced! We only choose the best quality materials there is, but there were more than we had anticipated! With such a high quality and feel, we were remarkably surprised by how far their technology had come. The faux fur samples had a softness and fluffiness that we never expected from it before – some of our staff could not believe it was faux fur at all! Even down to the wool samples, the softness was extremely close to the real thing. For the kay me designers, this was going to be a hard choice to narrow down.

The next step was to choose the perfect match of materials carefully, being wary of color, feel and quality. Other factors to consider where what colors would be, how it would brighten up your skin tone, the most versatile combination – all had to be carefully considered with a little bit of imagination.

After some trial and error, it came down to 2 colors – Pink beige for a softer, elegant and feminine touch, or camel beige for an all-round versatile color. In the colder seasons, there are many options for dark-toned coats, but we wanted soft-toned alternatives for an elegant impression. With the design and materials settled, it was time to go into sample production.

The First Sample

There is always excitement in the air when the first sample arrives in the office at kay me.  Upon the first impression and then trying it on, we realized that the faux fur had too much volume and with the short-haired length, it looked too heavy on the coat. So it was decided to switch to longer hair-length faux fur for the next sample.

The Second Sample

With the second sample back, the verdict? A big ‘Yes!’ from head designer and founder Junko! The long-haired fur was still soft but looked and felt more lightweight, and had a gorgeous swirled texture that still looked natural.

The Final Result

The end result is a wonderful item of clothing made to put any conscious owner at ease in the colder seasons. To see more behind the story, take a look with our kaymedia page (only in Japanese) or see more of the Eco Fur Coat’s features from our Preorder page, available for shipping from October.

Redefining Luxury – The Eco Project Series

At the root of kay me’s product design and development, we strive to use new and advanced technologies to create better clothing solutions without sacrificing animals. In our latest journey, we sought to redefine the meaning of ‘luxury wear’ through ethical practices, sustainable and animal-cruelty free alternatives – thus the Eco Project was born.

The premise of the ‘Eco Project’ was based on the need for elegant, luxurious alternatives which were animal cruelty-free thus guilt-free. Our designers looked to popular luxury goods that are often made of animal products – fur coats, leather bags, and leather shoes as the base. Over the past few months, we have been developing items made from high-tech, high-quality materials that are non-animal and designed for the modern woman’s needs.

Introducing the Eco-fur Coat, our luxury vegan coat with soft faux fur, the Puni Puni Pumps – the vegan leather pumps for day-long comfort with 10 times the cushioning! And finally our Airy Tote – a functional yet minimalistic vegan tote bag for any occasion. All items, produced via our D2C (Direct to Consumer) business model, ensuring the artisans who craft each piece are paid fairly and their business can be sustained in the long run.

Stay tuned for the behind-the-scenes development behind these products! To see more about preordering each item, please click here.

Your Royal Blue go-to’s for summer’s ‘days in, days out’

There is something about summer and wearing color that go hand-in-hand – perhaps it is the warmer temperatures or notions of sunshine, clear skies or summer vacation that puts us in a positive mood. For this season’s summer color, we are taking inspiration from the deep blues and picked out our top picks for ‘day in, day out’ dresses in beautiful royal blue.

Office Smart

Well-known as a symbol of wisdom and (as the name implies) royalty, for a wonderful dash of color to your summer wardrobe that looks intellectual and modest in and out of the office, royal blue is the perfect go-to. For a versatile and classic short-sleeved style, we recommend a Royal Blue Gather Dress – easy to style for work or days off!

Our stylist recommends match with a clean white jacket for a refreshing contrast at work, or pair with a black cardigan for a modest style.

Print Spritzer

For a style that calls forth the true summer atmosphere, then wearing a print can do you no wrong. Choose a nature-inspired print that is both beautiful and refreshing to look at and wear, like our recommended royal blue print this season: the Blue Leaf series. With a stunning combination of rich blues and sharp whites to bring a breath of fresh air into the room, it is amazing to wear for the office, to celebrate a special occasion or at a stay at the resort this season.

Pair with a bright red cardigan for an extra dose of vibrant color, or for an even more refreshing business style, wear with a sky blue jacket. The color combination makes it surprisingly easy to style!

Summer Regal

We all love the touch of knit in the colder seasons, but it is also possible to wear it comfortably in the warmer seasons too! For an elevated style that is sure to impress, we recommend our gorgeous Royal Blue Tacking Dress to stun at any special occasion. Designed with a square neckline to frame the face and neck and a peplum flare to add a feminine touch. Made from breathable, highly stretchy knit made in Kanazawa, and machine-washable to boot, it is an easy, low-maintenance dress that you can wear to work and make a lasting impression at any occasion.

For an extra layer of composed comfort in style, pair with a muted gray knit jacket, or wear on its own with pearls and a clutch for a sophisticated look, perfect for a night out.

See more of our most popular dresses this season, updated every week for more easy ‘day in, day out’ pieces to add to your wardrobe rotation.

Zoom Backgrounds to brighten up your Virtual function

Online video calls; whether for work meetings or for casual get-togethers, have been on the rise, with Zoom being one of the top picks to hold them. Members at kay me are also not strangers to the software, and to make online meetings more interesting, we have turned our top print designs into Zoom backgrounds for all to use! From simple geometric patterns, zesty citrus prints to elegant, vivid florals, there is something for every one! Here are some of our top picks:

Add a rich red background in our Rice Shower print to capture the attention on the screen and convey passion. Even for office meetings, make sure you are being heard and paid attention to with this background.

For an stunning yet soothing background, choose Emerald Flower, an elegant floral piece with a stunning jewel green. Perfect for a ladies’ lunch party!

Find inspiration in a kimono-style print, Fuji Murasaki, to add a touch of Japanese tradition and elegance to your video call.

For a pop of sunshine and relaxing blues, our Bouquet background adds a cheery atmosphere to brighten up the video call. A great way to boost the mood!

To see all 15 designs, download the backgrounds and see the original print dress, head to our Zoom Virtual Backgrounds page and brighten up your next Zoom function!

5 Cozy pieces for Remote Working

As working from home is becoming the new normal, figuring out what to wear to keep it professional yet comfortable has been a new topic of concern for many. So here are our 5 work from home pieces you can wear for casual and formal remote working styles.

Stay cozy and ready to be active with First Class hoodies

Whether you are off for a quick run to the grocery store or need to buckle down at the desk, or even relaxing on the sofa watching TV, a warm and cozy hoodie will keep you ready for any at-home situation.

Keep your legs covered with a Long skirt

While the webcam will only catch your upper half, it is easy to forget about your lower half. One of the top issues for career women when working from home is getting chilly legs. So keep them warm and covered in a long skirt. And you’ll never know if your lower half will need to make an on-screen appearance for a video call, so keep it light and flash a bright print long skirt to the camera.

Slip on a natural Long dress and you are set

For a casual work-from-home outfit you can complete in one-two-three, simply slip on a long dress and you can focus on your work and errands. And with a feminine print it looks great for online video calls too.

Add a chic touch with a Relaxed material

You can relax and be video-conference ready with the right material and design. Go for materials that feel soft on the skin like a cushiony-soft jersey or a fleeced lining for extra warmth. For material that wicks away moisture and keeps you cool, choose 100% cotton jersey. Combined with a simple design with a relaxed silhouette, you can stay truly comfortable and mobile and still look presentable for online meetings.

A Knit outer brings out the best of both worlds

When you want to maintain a true professional style from home, then look no further than a (machine-washable) knit cardigan or suit jacket that will keep you looking sharp and focused without compromising your comfort. And for true work-at-home advantage, you can easily take it for a spin in the washing machine and have it ready for another day!

To read more about the top concerns women have when working from home or to see more work-from-home styles, take a look at our recent survey results here

5 Simple outfits to wear on a Conference Call

When it comes to working remotely from home, it is easy to throw on items that you feel cozy in – like a sweatsuit, T-shirt or even pajamas. But when a conference call comes in, you want to make sure you look the part of an engaged worker with your eye on the ball. So here are 5 simple and sharp outfits you can wear for your next conference call, or to have ready when an unexpected one comes in.

  1. Simple solids

Stay clean with solid color pieces that looks chic, business ready and comfortable. Opt for a top with subtle details around the neck or neckline such as a ribbon tie or lace. Not only do they look smart, feminine, and are easy to match with, they will look proper in the event of connectivity issues, poor picture quality, or on small windows on your screen.

2. Simple Print

The simpler the better also applies to prints. To look your best in case of poor-quality conference calls, avoid complex prints like geometrics or florals, or multi-toned ones – this could get lost in the picture and be distracting on the screen. A simple 2-toned print like polka dots or stripes can still look sharp for work and effortlessly transition to comfortable casual wear.

3. Cozy Knitwear

If you want to keep it comfortable then layer up with a turtleneck as a base for comfort that keeps its professional edge; or thrown a simple cardigan over a basic top. An easy, effortless way to put on a business look and stay comfortable all-day long at home.

4. Sharp Neckline

Your face and upper body will be the focal point your peers or clients will see, so wear a V-neckline to frame your face and make your neck look long and slender. Not to mention, V-necklines look clean, professional and in control – great for conveying you mean business.

5. Pastel Colors

Keep it light and add a little color to brighten up your screen with some pastels. Workwear doesn’t have to be only black and white, pastel colors can also look sharp and professional, and can lift up your mood and others. Choose a pastel jacket for a soft yet clean look or a mix and match with a smart pastel top.

Staying a little more dressed up for conference calls and while working from home can help you stay more confident, motivated and sharp for work at hand, and create strong interpersonal impressions with your peers and clients even through video calls.

For functional options you can wear on a conference call at home, take a look at our range of stretchy suit setups that move with your body – so you can work, stretch and run errands around the house without a wrinkle (of worry). Or have a look at 16 colorful looks you can wear for you next video conference or virtual function, styled by our store concierge, Aki.