A woman from Bury St Edmunds has turned her fascination with Japanese culture into a quirky fund-raising idea.
Lorna Makowski dressed in a kimono, traditional Japanese garment, every day of August to help raise vital funds for Bury’s women’s Aid Centre, a refuge for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.
Her kimono ensembles consisted of more than 20 different items, including underdress, kimono and obi (sash belt), and took her up to an hour each day to dress.
“It’s certainly not been easy,” she said.
“First and foremost, somehow it had to fit in with work and family life.
“August was also the first month back at work for me since having my miracle daughter nine months previously.
“My photographer (her partner Lewis Wiggins) also gave up his spare time to support me in the challenge. It’s meant a lot of late night meals to fit it all in around work commitments and a baby!”
Lorna’s father also passed away, unexpectedly, a few days before she was due to begin her challenge, but she was determined to honour her promise and complete the task she had set for herself.
The 41-year-old’s interest in Japan started during her time as a pupil at County Upper School, in Bury.
At age 13 she was first in line to join the school’s Japanese club and she went on to host several Japanese students, studied and passed both GCSE and A-level Japanese and visited Japan with the school at the age of 17.
She later set up a craft business selling primarily origami papers and Japanese craft products, and began wearing, collecting and selling kimono related items in around 2003.
She has likened the ‘restrictive’ kimono dress to ‘human origami’ and was inspired to use it as a fund-raising initiative after a friend of hers, who openly states the refuge ‘saved the life of her and her children’, completed a sponsored walk for the charity.
Lorna said: “I thought about it for several months, and then I remembered something someone had once told me - they said ‘women are like kimono, beautiful, with many layers that shouldn’t be hidden away’.
“I knew it would be physically demanding for me to wear kimono every day, but I chose a whole month to raise funds and awareness in a quirky, unusual way,” she added.
Lorna documented her challenge with daily photographs, blog posts and Facebook updates, and now hopes to double the £225 she has already raised. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/ma-kimono
“The charity has had their funding dramatically cut, so it’s even more important that the community get together to try to cover the shortfall, in order to save the invaluable support they offer vulnerable women and children,” she said.
For more on the Women’s Aid Centre click here.