HOW TO QUIT "THAT" JOB AND FEEL LIKE A 6 FOOT TALL QUEEN
by the Sunday Forever Team
You may have heard the story of Sunday Forever before but if you haven’t, here’s the abbreviated version: Ashli Stockton’s dream job became...not so dreamy. She started filling her Sundays with these small but meaningful self care rituals and created a dream world of comfort, leisure and nice things, which turned into what is now Sunday Forever.
But before the candles and the sage and evil evil eye everything, there was a kimono.
You mean a bathrobe?
No, we mean a kimono. If you want to get technical, Sunday Forever kimonos are a hybrid of a kimono (a traditional Japanese garment for special occasions most often worn by females) and a yukata (a unisex, casual kimono usually worn outdoors in warm weather). Have you ever seen the movie Lost In Translation? Besides being a phenomenal example of what a mullet hairstyle will never look like on anyone but a gorgeous movie star, it takes place in a swank hotel in Tokyo, The Park Hyatt. In that hotel, in every single guest closet, hangs a robe/kimono/yukata for one to wear while relaxing or channel surfing at 3AM due to a horrible case of jet lag. One slips it on and it feels soft, cozy and comforting. Suddenly that tinge of homesickness magically disappears. When you tie the belt (or the obi), you feel instantly strong, supported and even a little bit chic. Maybe you even slip that kimono into your luggage because you can’t leave Tokyo without it?
Said kimono made its way back to NYC with Ashli where it hung on the back of her bedroom door. She wore it in the morning while getting ready for that job and slipped it on as soon as she got home each day from that job, pulling it closed and cinching up the obi belt each and every time, like a comforting ritual. She remembers how it made her feel like a “six foot tall queen” (she’s 5’ 3” and technically not a royal but shhhhhh). While it was QUITE a feeling, there were some details she wanted to change. For one, the color and print weren’t very “her.” It was an odd green shade with an “interesting” print. There were no pockets and aren’t pockets LIFE? Where would she put her lip balm, iPhone, and all the other things you absolutely NEED?! The sleeves were wide and would catch on doorknobs. Perhaps, just once, Ashli’s Park Hyatt kimono lit on fire during a 3am breakfast making session (everyone was fine, thanks for asking). After a while, the twice-a-day wearing started to take its toll on the fabric. Ashli spotted a tiny tear, “DEAR GOD NO!” she thought. Realizing this thing she loved so much may not last forever (it’s not like you can just get one on Amazon!), Ashli knew what she had to do. So she set out on her journey....
“Said kimono made its way back to NYC with Ashli where it hung on the back of her bedroom door. She wore it in the morning while getting ready FOR that job and slipped it on as soon as she got home each day FROM that job, pulling it closed and cinching up the obi belt each and every time, like a comforting ritual. She remembers how it made her feel like a “six foot tall queen” (she’s 5’ 3” and technically not a royal but shhhhhh).”
When Ashli started Sunday Forever, she was a one-woman show armed with no fashion design experience to speak of, so she reached out to people for help tweaking the kimono design and actually help make this thing a THING. It took over a year to get the pattern and fit just right and when it came to the colors and prints, all designed by Ashli with the help of people who know what they were doing, a new journey of learning the hard way began. She was passionate about the hand feel of the fabric; she wanted it to be as soft as a fluffy cloud which was achieved by sourcing and sourcing and sourcing hundreds of fabrics ranging from 100% brushed cotton to nylon twill. Along the journey, Ashli realized, unlike other apparel items on the market, kimonos have a high yield.
“What does that mean,” she asked her designer friends?
“Ahhh, for example, a shirt takes a single yard of fabric to make, but your kimono requires four (!) yards which means your fabric costs are really expensive.”
“Oh...shit, right.” See how fun learning things is?! The last detail is the obi belt. It was KEY to fully feeling like a “six foot tall queen.” It cinches you in, holds you tight, makes you feel secure while looking chic but still “comfy womfy” (a direct quote from Ashli). So, while it is a belt it is so much more than just a belt. After spending approximately 100 hours sourcing the perfect obi belt material, Ashli finally connected with a U.S.-based company that makes military strapping (the straps on duffle bags) and convinced them to help her re-create the obi belt since the technical aspects were similar. There was a catch, of course. They figured out how to make it but she’d have to order 5,000 units.... Um, what? Sunday Forever was only planning on making 100 kimonos for the first run but there was also the dilemma of where to store all of these obi’s? New York City apartments don’t usually have extra obi belt carton space, thus the very first storage space was acquired. Real glamourous stuff. Ashli refers to the obi as “The Magic Obi Belt” because it is truly a miracle that it even exists.
It’s important to note the incredible respect and admiration Ashli has for the Japanese culture and the traditional Japanese kimono, which is an absolute work of art. There are so many things to know about the traditions and ceremonial aspects of kimonos. For instance, did you know that when you put a kimono or yukata the left side is ALWAYS wrapped over the right side before the belt is tied? Obi belts are extra long so you can wrap it around twice and get a really good cinch. There’s an art and a science to folding and tying Obis. In fact, done correctly, there is a way to fold and tie an obi so the width is in perfect proportion to the wearer’s body measurements. We recommend starting at the front of your body, wrapping it around your back and then securing in a knot because we’re into simplicity but now you know.
Lastly, they’re made in the USA, which is pretty important to us.
Fast forward to 2016: Sunday Forever launched with 5 kimonos (pronounced kee-mono, which translates ki (着)"to wear", and mono (物) means "thing" or "object"). They sold out in a few days and Ashli knew Sunday Forever customers, the very first customers, were about to feel what she had felt that day (or was it night? The time difference really is killer...) she decided she couldn’t part with her Park Hyatt kimono - absolute perfection. That’s the real story (or saga) of the Sunday Forever Kimono. The next time you want to treat yourself, or someone else, to something nice consider the Sunday Forever Kimonos, the ultimate (and original) Nice Thing.