A Story From My Closet #8 - Colleen Tsoukalas, Taking Japanese Memories On The Fashion Journey

Guest Article by Colleen Tsoukalas

Fashion events are journeys. I travel to other worlds and new stages and so must dress for every adventure. As Japanese Designer Kenzo Takada says: "Fashion is like eating, you shouldn't stick to the same menu."  In keeping with that advice and my own love of variety, I wore my treasured Japanese pants, which were recycled from vintage kimonos, transitioning from retro to modern and from formal to informal.  To highlight local Japanese Design and the importance of choosing and wearing handmade slow fashion, I wore the pants to ECO Fashion Week, here in Vancouver. Terry Sasaki, Artist/Designer and owner of the Sasaki Gallery where I bought the pants, took time for a quick snap before the runway shows. 

Now, in these restricted times, I revisit Japan by going downtown to visit his gallery, not only for the Art, but also for the beautifully made clothing and accessories. My black silk crepe pants (Sachie Berry Canada) have a distinctive painted landscape on one leg, on the front and two smaller ones on the back of each leg. Japan comes toward you and captures your attention and then beckons you to follow.

These images might have been
on a Kimono or in a Gallery or on an exquisite invitation to Tokyo Fashion Week. They might also be in one of the famous gardens in Tokyo and other major cities, or in miniature green spaces throughout Japan. Before my first visit, I had thought of Japan as a huge industrial world, frenetic, crowded and far from the beautiful vistas we have here. This is a reminder that travel is Education and Fashion tells the story of cultures, past, present and future. Whether you look at a traditional Japanese Art book or at a Manga Graphic novel, you will see this reverence for nature and its colors: Macha green, soft mauves and purples, cherry blossom pinks and white, all against a vivid black background. The wooden teahouse, surrounded by shaped Pine trees is a place to observe and appreciate peace and tranquility. 

These pants can be
worn for any occasion and because they are cuffed, can be worn with boots or shoes, flat or heeled. I put them on and have a story, and while the images speak, I, too, must answer a myriad of questions: Where did you get them? What are they made of? Who is the Designer? Tell me more about Japan. And for me, here is the fun in Fashion; I am wearing a memory and sharing the story. It is all about the history and creation of the clothes, where they originated, who made them, how they came into your closet and why they have become special to you.

When I look into my closet, I look for story, color, and places far and wide. The Japanese pants can be worn in any season, although I would never wear them with a puffy winter coat. Never! I would pair them with my cream colored wool coat, classic, dressy and enveloping. After all, white symbolizes peace and calm, much needed for a graceful entry to a seat on the runway.

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Colleen Tsoukalas is a retired teacher, interested in Education, Travel, Fashion, Art, Photography and Writing of all kinds. Since 2009, she has enjoyed blogging about local and international Designers, Artists, Writers and a whole host of interesting people she meets on a daily basis. The door is one of her favorite images. She relishes going out of hers and finding new ones to open. Variety is the spice of life.

Colleen Tsoukalas - 

Terry Sasaki - 


  1. Thanks for publishing this one. You inspire us to get writing, writing, writing!

    1. It is fabulous to have your article a part of this series. I relate to so many things you said in it.


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