Scottish-Japanese artist celebrates her heritage by making a tartan kimono

Artist Maya Caulfield is half Scottish and half Japanese. (Photo: Reddit/Imgur/Mayalcaulfield)

What would have happened if Jamie Frasier and his fellow 18th century Scots of Outlander had happened upon a 21st century woman in a tartan kimono wandering the Highlands? That’s just one of the fantasies that comes to mind upon seeing the photos artist Maya Caulfield posted to Reddit and Instagram over the weekend. In the dreamy pics, she’s modeling a kimono she sewed by hand, and her work has earned her thousands of instant admirers.

“I am half Scottish and half Japanese — I hand-sewed this kimono from men’s dress shirts and boxer shorts,” 18-year-old Caulfield wrote in her post, which has 135,000 upvotes and more than 3,000 comments so far.


“I was inspired to make this garment after visiting an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum called Shock Wave, which featured garments by designers like Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe,” Caulfield tells Yahoo Style via email. “I thought the way they incorporated traditional Japanese fashion into modern designs was inspiring, and I wanted to try it for myself with a twist on my own cultural ancestry.”

Though her usual medium is painting, Caulfield said, she has sewn her own clothing before, so she gave textile art a shot. She admits that maybe it was a little gross to work with used men’s boxers, but she assured us, “Don’t worry; I washed them thoroughly before cutting them up.”

The resulting piece is so comfortable, she says, she might transition it from artwork to an outfit she wears around the house.

Caulfield did not expect the response she received on Reddit. “One of my friends who lives in Japan said that he saw his friends there looking at my picture and was so confused as to how they knew me,” she said, adding that the reactions have been gratifying.

“As the proud dad of two beautiful half-Scottish, half-Japanese daughters, I’ll be sharing this photo with them,” wrote jubal2000. “We often struggle to find good examples of culture crossover, this is easily the best I’ve seen, thank you for sharing.”

“I’m not sure why, but this is the most refreshingly original and totally authentic thing I’ve seen on reddit … in as long as I can remember,” chimpomatic5000 commented.

Caulfield went to film school and studied production design, but is now doing odd jobs as she travels around for the year. At the moment, she isn’t planning on turning her sudden popularity into a fashion venture.

“I don’t do commissions, but making a kimono yourself is very easy,” she tells Yahoo. “I didn’t even draft a pattern; I just looked at pictures online. If you think about it, it’s basically a long vest with a tube on either side!”

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