About Me - Melanie Gray Augustin
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I lived in Japan for six years which is where my Japanese obsession came from. I'm inspired by the culture, the fabric and paper and the way good design is used in everyday life over there. I love the way the traditional and the modern come together in a happy clash and this influences the designs I create for my jewellery label, Kimono Reincarnate.
I'm also the mother to a little force of nature. Just a toddler she's wise beyond her years and has inherited my love of craft and her dad's physical strength.
About Kimono Reincarnate
Kimono Reincarnate creates a range of handmade jewellery inspired by Japanese textiles and design. Modern jewellery with a Japanese touch.
The Brisbane designer, Melanie Gray Augustin, has been heavily influenced by her years of living in Japan. When returning to Australia she was eager to bring back and share little pieces of that amazing country. The collections draw on the sweet and "kawaii" designs found everywhere in Japan, on the gorgeous traditional patterns of kimono fabrics and by the funkiness of the modern cities.
Combinations of vintage kimono fabrics, Japanese cottons, stainless steel, silver, crystal clear resin, bamboo and brightly coloured, laser cut acrylics make the range unique.
How Kimono Reincarnate Began
I fell in love with Japanese Kimono and Obi fabrics when I first went to Japan. I love their design, their colours and the symbolism of the motifs used. I would watch in awe women in the streets when they were dressed in the traditional wear. To me, it’s like seeing a fine piece of artwork moving through the everyday scene.
Sadly, my curvy body shape doesn’t match well with straight lines of the Kimono. Still I greedily wanted a share of these lush textiles. That was how Kimono Reincarnate was born.
I seek out these gorgeous textiles and turn them into items that can be more easily used everyday. I give new life to fabrics that time has passed by. Much of my collection was gathered at antique markets and specialist secondhand stores during the six years I was living in Japan. I now travel to Japan each year to purchase more fabric and to soak in the inspiration all around.
As each piece of kimono fabric I use is either vintage or antique, the resulting piece handmade by myself from it is unique. I love to hold the fabric and imagine the life it has lead in the past before I breathe a new life, its second life, into it.
The Kimono Reincarnate range has continued to develop and expand as I'm influenced by not just the traditional but also the Japanese "kawaii" (Japanese word for "cute"), and the fresh, original fashions found on the streets of Tokyo.