Lifestyle blogger Jeanne Chan from Shop Sweet Things and event designer Gloria Wong of Gloria Wong Design have recently launched a stylish online party store Harlow & Grey, inspired by fashion, pop culture and graphic design. They aim to fill up the huge void in the market for chic, modern and disposable partyware and want to make stylish, effortless soirées accessible to anyone. Read more
Here below is a preview of their Modern Camp line for kids, which will be available in Summer 2016. In the meantime Mums with an appreciation for entertaining in style will enjoy the Harlow & Grey Goddess collection whose soft hues and polished details will win many compliments.
Harlow & Grey ✩ Website ✩ Instagram ✩ Pinterest
I am here to report on the 14th edition of Playtime Tokyo, which took place at the end of February at Belle Salle Shibuya. Over 230 brands were gathered to present their fall/winter 2016-17 collections and among them were even more labels from Japan than at the last edition! Other countries represented were: France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Finland, USA, South Korea, China and Australia.
The theme of the season? MARVELOUS. Let me bring you for a tour at Playtime Tokyo!
● Enter Abi’s fairyland by Abi Loves and Akiko Kawamura
Abi Loves Atelier goes from classic books story telling to 3D animation by BBMedia with graphic artist and writer Akiko Kawamura, who authored the bilingual (EN/JAP) series of books with Apollo the dog and Char the cat. The open space had a beautiful mural illustration on the Winter Wonderland theme.
● TREND SPACE 1: Frozen Landscape by Aurelie Mathigot
By far my favorite trend space, as it included a stunning embroidery work coupled with pieces of wood, ceramic and crochet. I found the textures and details very inspiring and poetic, I am sharing a few photos here below:
● TREND SPACE 2: Winter Wonderland by Kaori Kato
Kaori Kato has been developing her art practice through paper folding and by creating organic sculptural forms and mixed media installation. Her origami dress and head-piece were marvelous indeed!
✩ Print and patterns, and delicate embroideries at Bonheur du Jour (I am a fan!)
I am extremely excited to share the interview of Abigail Terrien of Abi Loves today on Paul & Paula. I met Abi a couple of years ago, shortly after arriving in Tokyo. I attended one of her kids event with my daughter and we were both excited (and a little bit shy too)…
Abi runs a company that produces kids events in Japan, pop up shops as well as representing brands. Here she lets us know a bit about her background and current activities.
1. Please tell us a bit about your background; where are you from and what brought you to Japan?
I am bicultural, Swiss-English and grew up in a small town in Switzerland before heading to France for studies and work. After ten years working as a PR in Paris I moved to Tokyo to join my husband and that was that. I’ve been here for almost 12 years now and have built my life around my kids. This is where Abi Loves came from: It all started with a baby in my arms…
2/. How did you start your label? And who came up with the name (I love it!)… Please kindly summarize Abi Loves… in 3 keywords.
My company name initially came up for my online select shop specialized in trendy and eco minded kids lifestyle goods (clothes, toys, books). It means Abi (short for Abigail) loves this, this and this. It worked perfectly and the Press loved it, the name as well as the goods. For many brands we were their first sales point in Japan.
The company evolved organically and is now focusing on representing kids brands in Japan, promoting brands via events, pop up shops and reporting about their trends and lifestyle on the company website, and social network.
We have several brands we customize our work for. For example for ‘Sophia203 Little Ladies’ we support the collection development and are the brands sales agent internationally whereas for Petit Bateau Japon, we support their events in Japan via Abi Loves social network and Mama bloggers connections. We have also been hosting the exclusive kids workshops at Playtime Tokyo every season for more than two years now. Our newest adventure is ‘Small is More’ which is a pop up shop where our fellow entrepreneurs can de-stock their seasonal goods to small prices making them very accessible to new customers and fans. It’s a great way to share and expand the kids community for sellers as well as for buyers.
4/. What criteria are you following when deciding a tie-up with a brand?
That’s a good question. We go with the feeling really. We love our work and want to have a relationship built on trust where everyone can do their work at their best and discuss development and strategy together.
5/. What part of the lifestyle event planning production do you enjoy most?
It’s a lot of different phases starting from the first ideas rapidly expanding and linking them to potential partners. I believe that a lot of industries and closely linked and that joint they can gain status without losing their brand identity. Don’t we say, together we stand strong?…or something like that. I love bringing people together to create a universe guests can enjoy and hopefully remember with a smile on their face.
6/. Are you somehow influenced by your own children during your creative process ?
My kids are the initiators of what became my work. I started with themed birthday party planning, gift shopping and was asked to do this for mothers around me which brought me to establish Abi Loves.
7/. What were the most memorable or extravagant events you have created in recent years?
I’m not sure I can pin one out…. small or big the efforts put in are the same. I guess that the beach party we organised for Tomorrowland at Caban in Hayama was a great showcase of a real Abi Loves family event, where we catered for Mum, Dad and the kids.
We had tons of fun at the ‘London calling’ collection party for Bonpoint with BMW where all the kids got fake backstage passes and joined the ‘rock concert’ after some styling preparations.
The ELLE online kids pop up shop launch party was very stylish and the interactive playroom at Playtime Tokyo got thumbs up by little guests and buyers who got inspired seeing our selection of goods showcased in a ‘real-fake’ kids room.
Abi Loves at Playtime Tokyo
8/. How are Abi Loves events different from other events?
I’m not sure, you tell me? We don’t like to push guests into buying and promote the brands or products via an experience for the guests rather than a direct sales stunt. We also link universes together to give the sense of a community to customers. Living in a city as big as Tokyo, this is essential for the mind set, the sense of proximity and sharing.
9/. Your favorites hangout places in Tokyo?
Oh my, there are so many! Sign up to my upcoming e-guide, My Organic Tokyo, and see www.abigailterrien.com ; )
10/. Last, could you give us three local brands (for kids) that the whole wide world should know about.
I am happy to report on Paul & Paula about Playtime Tokyo which just took place last week at Belle Salle Shibuya. The trade show keeps growing season after season, with 230 exhibitors for their August 2015 edition. This time I noticed the presence of more local Japanese brands (from all over Japan), which I am very excited about. Other countries represented: France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, UK, Ireland, USA, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia and Singapore.
As always, I am looking forward to discovering the trend spaces and the fabulous work of the artists invited to showcase their work. I especially loved the work of Nuico and her unique, beautiful hand-sewn dolls hanging from the ceiling in a spectacular manner.
left to right: Sophia 203, CAST Japan, Tutu du Monde, folkmade
I always appreciate to catch up with the brands that regularly attend the show and get to talk to the designers (when they come), the team or their agents. This season, I was really happy to find out that Tutu du Monde was part of the show and I got to chat and get insights from founder and creative director Andrea Rembeck herself! No doubt the brand will be very well received here too.
Tutu du Monde (Australia) – the world acclaimed tutus made their debut in Japan!
right, top to bottom: Playtime invitation, Abi Loves Tokyo space, Ladedah
Abi Loves, a Tokyo Kids Event Producer company, animated a space for the youngest guests called the Sunshine Playground, where kids could try out wooden games handmade by Japanese artist Yuta Nishiura and decorate paper masks created by Sophia 203. The walls were showcasing the light sculpture by French sculptor Zoé Rumeau.
Playtime meets Kodomono is a new space that launched last February, entirely dedicated to design for children. The space doubled due to an increasing demand from brands. The dozen of labels/ agents propose single products or small design collections.
Below are a few toy/ home decor brands from Japan and abroad that are worth bookmarking:
Greetings from Japan!
For this month’s blogpost I have interviewed Harumi Watanabe, founder and designer of Japanese label folk made. She’s sharing a bit of her inspiration, struggles and dreams in this post. I first met her at the Tokyo edition of Playtime last February and I was immediately drawn to her booth and especially to the big knitted stools that you will see below. Happy reading!
1. Please tell us a bit about your background, and how/ when did you start your label. What is your role at folk made?
After working for a Japanese label specializing in knitwear, I lived in France for three years, where I could do a lot of different things such as visiting museums, traveling, going to flea markets, learn about French language and culture… I was also the assistant designer for a French accessory label.
I started making children’s clothes little by little after my first baby was born. Then slowly I placed my creations in consignment in shops such as HP and it started to sell.
Nowadays I am doing everything on my own, from the design to the pattern making, realizing the sample collection as well as all the administration tasks. Folk made was founded in 2012.
2. How did you come up with the name ‘folk made’? Please give us 3 keywords that best describe your label.
folk made is about:
folklore: I am inspired by ethnic costumes and local handicrafts from the old days
natural product but with taste and texture
handmade: the love for handmade and pieces that will last for many years and bring a smile to your face
3. What inspires you when you create a collection? Your pieces have so many cute details , what is usually initiating the process?
The process starts with a collection of keywords that are inspiring me, then moves to the coordination of color combinations that have caught my eyes in the everyday life – for example in children’s painting… Once I have collected bits of inspiration I start looking for fabric swatches that are similar to the color combination I have in mind. Lastly I work on the samples.
4. Do you make the clothes yourself or do you have a factory producing the pieces?
I am in charge of the design as well as pattern making and sewing the sample pieces.
Starting from the Fall / Winter 2016 collection, I will work with a factory in Japan to produce the pieces.
5. Do you involve your daughter at some point in the creative process?
Of course! I might not have started a children’s label if I didn’t have a daughter. Since I want her to wear the clothes I am creating, she gets involved in the process of each collection, from trying on the sample to modelling for the catalogue. I could also get inspired by something she draws and make a pattern from it.
She also hand wrote the brand logo.
6. Where can we buy folk made?
From Fall/ Winter 2016 folk made will be sold in 11 stores in Japan as well as one store abroad.
Local stores in Japan are for example: Elf Kids market (in Tokyo) or une plume (in Kobe)
7. What are you struggling most with?
Pattern-making can be challenging at times!
8. Do you attend any trade fairs other than Playtime Tokyo?
9. What is your biggest dream for folk made?
It would be fantastic to have our children’s collection as well as our furniture design all showcased in one store to better translate what our brand is about.
Note from the editor: all the wooden furnitures you see on the pictures are handmade by Harumi’s husband himself!
10. What are you favorite Japanese brands for kids that the rest of the world should know about?