Polish label Efvva recently travelled to Japan to take part in Playtime Tokyo for the first time. The purpose of the trip was business but obviously the culture and style was not to be missed. The Japanese economy is enjoying a steady and long period of growth, however this isn’t the case in the children’s clothing market with household consumption continuing to decline and the birth rate at its lowest. That said designer and founder Ewa Wrobel-Hultqvist shares with Pirouette her very positive business and cultural experiences from her time spent in the Japanese capital.
Firstly, What do you make of Japanese style?
I fell in love with the Japanese style a long time ago. Japanese engravings inspired me already back when I was studying art and painting. When I made my EFVVA AM 14/15 collection “Water”, it was inspired by the Japanese artist Hokusai. The amazing photo campaign was made by Wanda Kujacz in a Japanese garden. In addition I do love the Japanese kitchen – it is ART in itself.
Tokyo is known as a style incubator, always ready for new ideas. Is this the feeling you got from the show?
What you’re talking about you doubtlessly feel in the city. I saw a lot of new inspiring things that surly will inspire my work. The show has a lot of Japanese brands which where interesting, and as a show there where similarities to Playtime Paris and New York.
It’s the first time Efvva has shown at Playtime Tokyo, and although the economy in Japan is enjoying a steady and sustained growth childrenswear sales are still suffering. What convinced you this was a good moment to explore the Japanese market?
It’s true, the children’s market in Japan is not thriving, however, as we do have a lot of likes in Asia I wanted to try the Japanese market and I have to tell you that we had modest expectations for the first show, yet we returned quite satisfied and with some nice orders.
Before Tokyo you were at Playtime Paris and New York. Did you notice any differences in buying behaviour compared to the other shows? Certainly yes, in Japan we are dealing with a different culture, for example instead of shaking hands, people are bowing, the way of exchanging business cards is a very special thing to do with two hands in great focus and with respect to the person you meet. Personally, I love it! Also Japanese people aren’t so outgoing as Americans clearly are.
Did you manage to explore any of Tokyo outside of the show?
We found some time to discover and explore Tokyo, such districts as Shibua with neon lights and 2.5 thousand people crossing the intersection during one change of lights. The beautiful park Yoyogi with the temple Meiji Shrine, touristic Asakusa, less touristic Daikanyama, often referred to as “the Brooklyn of the Japanese capital, recommended by Sebastien, the organizer of Playtime Tokyo. Thanks to him we got got to see an incredibly atmospheric district, where we really feasted in an interesting Chinese restaurant. One of these hidden gem places; where modernity and comfort combine the perfect harmony meet. No doubt, the must have is a fish market, early in the morning . We hope to see the rest next time.
It’s been a long summer for EFVVA, what next? Do you get to relax for a bit?
As always big projects ahead of us, I’ve already started designing the autumn winter collection which we will be presented in Florence, NYC and Tokyo beginning of next year. I can secretly tell you that it will be inspired by a surrealistic tale … Luckily for me my work relaxes me, so yes I have some relaxation ahead of me…thank you so much for a nice chat!
Tokyo Photo Gallery