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Looking for something more upscale than messenger bags and wallets? Then Chako Tokyo's glamorous clutch bags might be just the ticket. Chako's concept is a simple yet effective one: to provide a new lease of life to kimonos and obis (the wide sash that is tied around the waist of the kimono) by turning them into glamorous clutch bags. The idea came about after Kazumi Nakanishi asked her mother to make her a clutch from an obi she fell in love with at an antique market in Tokyo. "My mother and I thought we could modernize the traditional function of the kimono and obi by making a handbag that was easy for modern day women to wear. It makes us happy to see Chako bags out in public because each beautiful silk fabric holds so much sumbolism and has a story to tell." Plus Nakashini points out, "a lot of man hours go into creating these garments - many are hand embroidered or hand painted. However, most of them sit in people's armoires for years without seeing daylight. I found this really unfortunate.

Chako's distinctive clutches are not only beautifully exquisite but versatile too, and can be worn in three ways: over your shoulder with a detachable chain, under your arm, or as wrist clutch. The outer material is obi (more durable) while the inside is kimono (a more delicate silk). Kazumi reveals that a made to order online service is slated for launch this fall, ensuring that even more kimonos and obis will be given the chance to shine again. Who knows, maybe some Asian fashionistas will be so dazzled by this product that they might even forego that trip to Chloe or LV and purchase one of Chako's environmentally-friendly clutches instead.

One-of-a-kind clutch bags made from Japanese obi & kimono
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