Recently I had the luck to visit South Korea and Japan. Lucky because both countries are amazing, and because with the way things are going, the area can become a no-go zone pretty quickly.
The culture, the food, the design, the fashion, all brilliant, I couldn’t possibly choose. It seems like everything they do is with love, extreme attention to detail, and with an aim to visually please consumers. In these two countries, I did not mind waiting a bit longer for my purchases to be wrapped in the most exquisite way. Definitely beats queuing for hours for your t-shirt to be rolled in a ball and shoved in a bag! I did not mind waiting a bit longer to be served beautiful food, always with a smile. Beats the “you are lucky to be served by me” attitude you get in many London restaurants.
Smiling and happiness is widespread, especially in South Korea. For a cynic westerner such as I, it initially comes across as something very odd. Surely, they cannot be this happy. Surely, it is the product of social oppression, right? Well, if you let go and give in, just like I did on day 3, it can be contagious. On day 4 different questions were forming in my mind: what is wrong with us in the West, or what is it that makes us so grumpy?
You know what else is everywhere in these two countries? Cute things! I must admit the latter took more than 3 days to get used to or accept. But, funnily enough, even cute things managed to find their way into my heart. For people who know me, this will sound bizarre. They will vouch that there is no way in hell that I would find cats with big eyes, and dogs with neckties acceptable. I still don’t. However, being surrounded by all this cuteness, I would frequently roll my eyes and give numerous judgmental sighs, which made me question my motives for such reaction. Are we too obsessed with being cool in the West? Are we too scared of being branded naff?
Cuteness has its own temple in both countries. Stationary shops are many and massive. They are filled with papers, stickers, envelopes, cards, erasers, pencil bags etc. All covered in cute design; sometimes brilliant, sometimes so wrong it feels right! Tell me that you don’t need a mouse pad with a print of a cat wrapped in sushi right now…
Below there are a few print ideas that caught my eye in stationary maze. Mainly they are prints that can inspire childrenswear and maybe teen-wear. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of them printed on hot midi dresses or oversized men’s t-shirts. Embrace the “naff”… Read more