When I was growing up we hosted a huge number of international students. Somewhere between 35 and 40, I reckon. Some stayed for a few weeks, some for a few years. The longest was a fun guy from Thailand who lived with us and attended the same school as me for three years. Some students I grew closer to than others and, though nothing compares with first hand experience, I learnt a lot about culture from these 'second hands'. We had more than one student from Germany, for example, and they were very different and each gave me unique perspectives. As with China and Korea. So many different students, so many different facets of the culture. We also had many students from Japan and whilst they were absolutely not the same, either, there was something that I found so very endearing about all of them. A same-ness that had to be cultural...kindness, joy, a fondness for 'cute', a desire for happiness.
Image from a now defunct Tokyo Fashion Tumblr account.
As a child who loved 'cute' and the pursuit of happiness and as a tween besotted by bright lights, colour, technology and fashion I have the such fondness in my heart for our the Japanese students that I consider synonymous with these loves. When they arrived they brought me gifts of exquisite origami supplies, magical, floating paper balls, delectable Pocky and (jackpot...) Tamagotchi (!). When they left they invariably left behind dazzling magazines full of hair braiding options, t-shirts they no longer wanted and Japanese delicacies they hadn't the chance to cook.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the fondness I have for Japan and my respect for its people come from these gorgeous (mostly) girls. And maybe their gifts.
So, of course, it was not hard for me to channel that joy for my latest collection, 'Hello, Tokyo'. I hope you can feel the Happy pulsating through these designs, as well as feel the vibrant 70s, the kitschy awesomeness and the loud, typographical madness.
It's available as fabric here or for exclusive use as a collection, by emailing me (email@example.com)...
Without further ado:
Two final, bonus side notes.
Firstly: I once had a Japanese student tell me she had never seen another person in Japan wearing the same clothes as her. Nevvvahhhh. Didn't I just feel like Dolly the sheep at that moment? Isn't the goal in Australia to look like every.other.person? Lessons from Japan. Buy small. Look different. Win.
Lastly, my husband read me this article a few years ago in which Japanese people purchased shorn sheep, thinking they were POODLES. I have had contention about whether my cutesy, fluffy creatures are sheep or poodles. Well, let's keep it Japanese-y and say, whatever you'd like them to be ;)