Harlow & Grey Preview: party ware for modern kids

A Harlow & Grey

Today we have Marie from Tokyo reporting with a brand new online party store:

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.
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Playtime Tokyo F/W 2016-17

Playtime Tokyo
Illustration by Anne Laval

Greetings from Tokyo!

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!

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Abi Loves

1 Abi Loves_Sep2015

Hello, greetings from Tokyo!

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

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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.

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Elle Maman Japan; Abi Loves at Playtime Tokyo


3/. Who are you currently working with/ for?

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.

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Little ladies by Sophia 2013


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ; )


10/. Last, could you give us three local brands (for kids) that the whole wide world should know about.

On the top of my head I would say:  Camphor,  Cokitika and More Trees,


Et voilà, I hope you enjoyed this interview. You can follow Abi Loves… on Facebook or Instagram, go say hi!


Thank you very much Marie for this super interview!





Playtime Tokyo {S/S 2016}

Playtime Tokyo_Anne Laval
Illustration by Anne Laval

Hello from Tokyo!

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.

Covering the event were Cocomag, Milk Japan, Kid’s Wear, FQ Japan, Babyologie, Gap Kids, Papier Mache, etc…
The theme of the season? MOVEMENT. Let’s go!


#1 Trend Space : On the road by Nuico

1 Trend Space_Playtime Tokyo Aug15

top left to right: Playtime café space, folkmade, Le Petit Philosophe, Ninos

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Trend Space “On the Road” by Nuico

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.

Brands from Japan that caught my attention:

Ami Amie – lovely knitwear

Folkmade – kids wear with a Japanese edge and great fabric/ details

muu muu – for their quirky knitwear and easy to navigate website

Franky Grow – Japanese kidswear, very unique website!

De Nachos – laidback, boho feel (the brand is based in a lovely city on the west coast of Japan)

Arch & Line – fancy, classy clothes for elegant little people

Ninos – footwear designed & made in Japan


#2 Trend Space : Take it easy by Norio Monma

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Trend space “Take it easy” by Norio Nonma

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!

Sophia 203 (Japan/ India) – delicate, hand-embroidered accessories

Bonheur du Jour (France) – colorful, romantic collection with gorgeous embroidery details

Luisa & Ernesto (Ireland) – luxury footwear

Beau Loves (UK) – quirky, fun, stylish

Velveteen (Hong Kong) – classic, well crafted clothes. lovely color combination & materials

nobodinoz (Spain) – quirky, cute label from Spain / home decor, clothes, toys

Louise Misha (France) – poetic and dreamy clothes for little ones and their mummies

No added Sugar (UK) – absolutely gorgeous collection, I loved it!


#3 Trend Space : Let’s dance by Takashi Nakajima

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Trend space “Let’s dance” by Takashi Nakajima

right, top to bottom: Playtime invitation, Abi Loves Tokyo space, Ladedah

Sunshine Playground

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.


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Kodomono Space

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.

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Below are a few toy/ home decor brands from Japan and abroad that are worth bookmarking:

The Wallpaper Tokyo (Japan) – great great wallpaper designs

Rocca Spiele (Japan) – games and goods

Tickle Glass (Japan) – handmade glass objects in Gifu prefecture

Rock and Pebble (USA) – beautiful homewares, toys and paper products

Ladedah Kids (Australia) – hand-crocheted toys and home decor items

Les Jouets Libres (France) – beautiful wooden toys made in France

Snug Studio (Germany) – clear, minimalistic, classic design

Meyer-Lavigne (Denmark) – unique Scandinavian home decor items
Next edition of Playtime Tokyo: February 23 – 24 – 25, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the read!

Coming next is a post about Abi Loves, a Tokyo-based event producer specialising in kids event. Stay tuned!


Thank you so much Marie for the report… I still would love to go to Playtime Tokyo one day, so happy to have you and share the experience…





Interview with: folk made {Japan}

folk made
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.
folk made

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
folk made

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.
folk made
folk made

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.
folk made

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.
folk made

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)
folk made

7. What are you struggling most with?

Pattern-making can be challenging at times!
folk made

8. Do you attend any trade fairs other than Playtime Tokyo?

Not yet.

folk made

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!
folk made

10. What are you favorite Japanese brands for kids that the rest of the world should know about?

cokitica (コキチカ)


To discover more about the world of folk made, you can browse their website, and follow them on Facebook or Instagram!

folk made

Thank you so much Marie for this great interview!




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