Hisae Abe

Hisae brings a fresh and new approach to the traditional Japanese garment.

Hisae Abe will graduate from the RSN BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery Degree this summer and originally comes from Japan which is why her work is related to Japanese Heritage and tradition. The way she works is very influenced by Japanese culture and how the Japanese conduct themselves. Hisae has a good knowledge of traditional embroidery techniques and uses these in her contemporary practice. Various materials and techniques, such as fabric manipulation, natural dyeing and handcraft techniques, are skillfully combined together with her exquisite touch. Her pieces create layers of harmony and play a melody of elegance and the ethereal.

Hisae’s latest work is a Kimono inspired by her mother’s Kimono which was found in her mother’s drawer after her she had passed away. The Kimono was created by traditional Japanese detailed hand craftsmanship, Japanese hand embroidery and Shibori, which is exquisite hand dyeing. The Kimono industry has shrunk in Japan so Hisae wanted to bring something new to her Kimono to encourage more people to become interested in this iconic Japanese garment and she hopes that the tradition of wearing Kimonos will continue into the next generation. In Hisae’s work, the large peony at the front reminds us of the relationship between mother and child because the mother’s existence always appears large and towers over the child. Hisae has expressed the natural cycle in which the flowers bloom, the petals fall and pile up on the ground, and the flowers bloom again. This is like our life cycle and contains the wish she has, that the Japanese tradition of the wearing the Kimono is inherited and continues forever.

Hisae used silk white organza for her Kimono so a vibrant red undergarment can be seen through it. Red was a hidden colour; it is very rare and is seldom produced anymore. In times gone by, the Japanese government banned the wearing of red on the Kimono as this colour meant luxury and was expensive to produce. People wore red as an undergarment and for lining the Kimono, which was usually hidden. Hisae used a natural dyeing process using avocado, which produces the hidden colour, a red hue. She regards ‘hidden’ as a key word so some items in the embellishments, such as sequins and needlelace balls, have been hidden. The embellishment of her Kimono was made using the couture embroidery techniques of Tambour, Goldwork and Needlelace.

Hisae’s piece is unique as it creates a fusion of the Japanese tradition and contemporary, with the composition of 3D embellishment and couture embroidery techniques. This way of working is rarely seen on contemporary Kimonos today. Hisae brings a fresh and new approach to the traditional Japanese garment.

Whilst studying at the RSN, Hisae has received two bursaries: Janet Churm Bursary (2018) and the Board of Trustees Bursary (2019), and she was awarded the Most Developing Second Year Student in her second year (2019). She completed work experience with Creative Director Patrick Grant’s brand, ‘E. Tauz’ in London, for the S/S19 and S/S20 collections. In 2019, Hisae was part of the team that created the ‘Back to Nature’ den for the Duchess of Cambridge’s showcase at the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival.


You can follow Hisae on her Instagram page.


« back