I love wearing something over my dresses, skirts, jeans, pants-you get the idea. When I saw these modern kimonos from MB3 I knew they would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. Amanda, the designer/owner, has created the most beautiful kimono jackets using fabrics that are simply stunning, and her story is just so interesting.
When did you start designing kimono jackets?
I started designing the jackets about one year ago. My family and I were expats in Tokyo, Japan for about 10 years and I absolutely fell in love with the fashion in Tokyo and knew that I wanted to someday create a line that was not only inspired by the traditional Japanese kimono, but also a line that has incredible attention to detail and quality of construction – hallmarks of Japanese fashion! While in Tokyo, we were going back and forth to NYC and I think the city is also a huge source of inspiration.
What made you decide to start your business?
I’ve always known that someday I wanted to have my own fashion label. I grew up in a very small town in Utah where it was fashionable to wear Wrangler jeans and button down cowboy pearl collared shirts. Not only was I the only Asian in my entire high school, I also did not follow the cowboy trend and instead opted for the “Contempto Casual” made popular from the 90’s movie, “Clueless.” I was the queen of short skirts, thigh high socks, baby tees and chokers! Needless to say, I always stuck out like a sore thumb, but I didn’t care. I went on to Parsons and got a degree in Fashion and upon graduation, worked in showroom sales and textile design. Because I worked on both the business side and design side, I really got to learn the inner workings of running a fashion brand.
Your kimonos are so beautiful, where do you get your inspiration?
I think my inspiration came mainly from living in Tokyo for so many years. I was a new mom of twin girls and we lived in Roppongi Hills, home to the most amazing clothing shops in the world. Often during nap time, I would put my girls in the double stroller and browse all the shops while they were peacefully sleeping! I was always amazed at the attention to detail in construction and quality of fabrics that go into Japanese fashion. I learned a very good lesson during my time in Japan of quality over quantity. I learned that quantity will never make you happy – having lots of something is never a good thing. Friends, clothes, gadgets – it doesn’t matter how much of something you have; what matters is the quality of what you have. Will it last? Is it substantial? I hope my customers will see that when designing, sourcing and producing, I always look to quality over quantity and try and produce clothing meant to be timeless in design and will hopefully last from season to season.
Where do you purchase your materials?
Due to Covid, I have not been able to attend the fabric trade shows. I attended the last one last year in Paris right before Covid hit and luckily got many great contacts that have sales reps here in NYC. My fabrics come from all over the world – France, Spain, Turkey and Japan! Because I worked previously in textiles, the quality of fabric is very important to me. Oftentimes, the inspiration from the fabric will guide the design. I believe that is what happened when I designed the Seraphina kimono. I went to the NYC showroom of a small mill from Paris and was immediately taken by the fabric and didn’t know how I was going to use, but knew that I needed to have it in my collection!
Does your business name have a significant meaning?
The name is named after my daughters! I have twelve year old twins!
What is a day like for you?
Oh it varies from day to day! My twin girls are in 6th grade and they are my other daytime job. They luckily go to school on a hybrid model and are in physical school 3 days out of the week. I usually try and squeeze in all my meetings with my factory, which is based in Brooklyn, and fabric vendors while they are in school. On the days they are not in school, you will usually find me on the subway somewhere in Manhattan chauffeuring my two daughters around to ballet lessons or other ballet related activities. They are both serious ballerinas in training at American Ballet Theatre – JKO School.
What is your favorite part of owning a business?
My favorite part is probably the freedom it allows me to be at home with my daughters. It is also the hardest part. With that freedom, I don’t have somebody telling me to get things done and meet deadlines – the growth of my business is solely on my shoulders. What I put in, is what I get out! I find myself getting a little discouraged at times because I’m not able to devote more time due to my kids and other life commitments! But I know that I’m incredibly blessed that I get to do something I love while also being a mom and wife to my amazing family!
Do you have a favorite kimono jacket?
I would probably say the Cora jacket is my favorite. I found the Cora fabric at a small fabric show in New York right before Covid and knew I loved it, but really did not know how it would turn out. I had not ever worked with vegan leather and it was kind of shot in the dark. I had originally planned on that particular design to be in more of a heavy jacquard, but at the last minute decided to have the sample made in the Cora fabric. I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw the sample! I recently ordered more of that fabric and have a slightly different more springtime version coming out very soon.
Where do you sell your kimonos?
Right now, I’m starting very slow and only selling on my website and via instagram. I would love to someday have a storefront in NYC! I was also just picked up by a showroom that showcases my jackets to buyers, editors, stylists, photographers, etc in NYC and Miami.
I really enjoyed styling these kimonos. As I was taking them out of the box, I said “Oh, this one is my favorite” until I took the next one out! They are seriously that gorgeous. I love the fabrics Amanda uses, the color linings, the different lengths, the sleeves, how they can be dressed up or worn casually-I love everything about them! Visit MB3 and let me know which one is your favorite! (If you can choose 😉).
Amanda also makes her gorgeous kimonos in children’s sizes-perfect for your little fashionistas!
Shop these beautiful, modern kimonos and take your outfits to the next level!