Interview with Pink Hime
Pink Hime creator Tomoyo focuses on color of Pink and decorates fashion items, small goods and furniture with the theme of pink. Since beginning the Pink Hime brand has spread all over the world. It is Tomoyos’ dream to introduce Japanese Kawaii culture all over the world. Her focus has been mainly in Japan where her items have been introduced on TV shows and in magazines but her fan base as grown to include having her items sold at a retail location in Los Angeles as well. Her items are also sold at exhibitions and conventions around the world as well as through an Australian retailer’s website.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and where you are from?
I was born in Tokyo, Setagaya ward. All the men and women and older boys in the neighborhood….many of the people who lived around my home, took a good care of me. Also I was raised by my parents in a good neighborhood in a very relaxed environment. Most of our neighborhood were really helpful .
I loved pink from the days of my earliest recollection.
When you were a child were you interested in fashion?
Yes!! I was very interested in fashion as well as hair styling. When I was 3 years old, my mom found me cutting my hair by myself because I didn’t like to have long hair. She went ‘”Wowwwwwww!!!” She was so surprised… however I had my hair trimmed properly later on.
As I got older I became aware that I had different tastes in clothes compared to others.
My mom was a flower designer and she was also taught dressmaking so most of my clothes were hand sewn by my mom. I think that she continued making them for me till I was a junior high school student….
Can you describe for the readers what “Kawaii” means to you?
It’s hard to explain in a formal way…. We use Kawaii a lot in Japan in various situations. It could be for men, chldren, pets or anything. Kawaii is one of my favorite words and I use it lot to express my feelings. It’s a word which can be used for anything, any place and anyone in a pleasing way.
If there was no such word as Kawaii, I can’t think of any other word to replace it….
Do you think Kawaii, Lolita and other forms of Japanese fashion will be more popular in the US in the future?
Yes. I’m sure. Also I hope that it will be. Japanese fashion will continue improving in the future. I think that something new is being created even now. However, if it can continue to be popular or even if it becomes popular is another question. I always think that if Japanese fashion items are more easily accessible and available to purchase the interest in it would grow greatly.
When did you first begin to design your own goods? How did you get started?
It was sometimes in 2006 when I designed my first item. I always liked making things before that though. I started selling my items on an Internet auction site in 2006. There were only a few people who bought them at that time. But since then my items always sell out year after year.
I opened my web shop as well and also started having my items for sale at a pretty shop near my place. I became popular enough to get interviewed for TV and magazines. I’ve always thought that I want everyone to actually see the real thing, I want them to feel the sense of actually touching the items which they can’t do by watching TV or photos, I want them to see the color and sparkles in person, I’ll focus on the activities which provide people the opportunity to actually watch in person more this year.
What do you hope your customers will think when they learn about your products?
I really wish for anyone in the world, men, women, children, elders, no matter where they live or how old they are, also no matter which fashion style they like, Harajuku style, Lolita and Hime fashion etc., to use pink items (Pinkhime’s items).
One time I received a letter from a customer who was suffering from a serious illness. In the letter she wrote,
“When I saw your work, it took my pain away and gave me the feeling of beautiful flowers blooming in my heart. Thank you”.
Whenever I face any hardship, I read this letter again and think of continuing making items with which I can move someone’s heart. I know that moving someone’s heart isn’t easy, however, I’m not in a hurry and keep doing my work wholeheartedly for others and because I enjoy doing it too.
What sets your items apart from others? What makes them special?
As there are so many talented artists in the world, I always think that the people in the world who buy Pinkhime items may be inspired to create their own cut items and explore their own creativity in the future.
As for the characteristics of Pinkhime, first of all, the way of using pink is cute, and also it has own creativity which is expressed by using hand sewn original motifs etc.
The reason why it’s special may have something to do with my environment where I grew up. Because my mom was a flower designer and also taught dress making, I was always surrounded by various materials such as pieces of fabrics and flowers etc. I was always getting my own inspirations with those materials rather than being taught by the books or other people. So, there were special and unusual materials always around me since I was little…. It is fun for me to be able to transform any shape from one to the other. It’s something special for me.
I understand that you are very sensitive to people’s emotions and formed a charity which donated a part of the money raised through sales of Pinkhime items. Can you tell us more about it?
My goal, or my thought, is that I want to make things for all the people who use my Pinkhime items to become happy, even if they are facing a hardship or difficulty, and can smile for even a moment.
Since the devastating Tohoku earthquake in a few yeas ago where so many people died, many thoughts have been in my mind. The damaged area is still far from completing the reconstruction. People who lived at the damaged area have been experiencing hardships such as lost precious ones and so on. They are doing their best to overcome their despair.
A friend of mine was living in the damaged area and lost her grandfather and her house was washed away. They were managing a Japanese style hotel, but it’s impossible to reconstruct and go back to work.
My thought has been changed a lot since the earthquake.Also I can appreciate to be able to have chances to have my customers who can be happy and I can have a computer which I can communicate with people in the world. I’ve been encouraged to do more things for the people who are having restricted lives after the earthquake. I want to do my best for Japan to be back alive.
In my friend’s case, she only lost her grand father and also his body was found. However a lot of bodies are still not found. That is actually worse.
What are some of your most popular items?
It’s different depending on each country. In Japan, furniture and daily goods are popular. In America, U.K. and Australia….in overseas generally the items for fashion are more popular. I just want everyone to know that there is such a type of art work in Japan.
How would you describe your style?
It’s a new style which uses mainly pink and is actually different from Hime deco style.
What items will you have on sale at the upcoming Lolita exhibition in the UK this year?
It’s still a secret….
I’ll make something very, very cute items, which people will be so impressed with they can’t help saying “Wowwwwww!!” when seeing it!!
You will be surprised for sure!!
The event is called ‘Frock On’ and is in One Whitehall Place on the 31st August.
For those of us in the United States, where can we find your items?
At 【Fairytale Boutique】 in Los Angeles
Online shop will open in March.
Are there other artists that you admire or who influence you?
My mom. She is an artist who I respect. She was mainly making bouquets for weddings as a flower designer. She also works with bonsai trees, too. All my mom’s works were always impressive, so I think of my mom’s hands as magic hands. Her work, as well as her way of naming them, were outstanding. I believe there is no one else like my mom that has skillful, magic hands like she does!
I would like to know what kinds of music, movies and television you like? Any favorites you can share with us?
I listen to various music, however I love Utada Hikaru, who is a Japanese singer, because I love her voice. I watch various movies, too. I like to watch any sort of adventure movies!! (Never Ending Story, Indiana Jones etc.) As for Japanese movies, I like Ghibli movies (by Miyazaki Hayao director). For example, Totoro and Nausicaa.
As for my favorite things, I like Japanese four seasons. Japanese jour seasons are really wonderful. I really like everyone in there world to see each of them. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each season is quite different and meals we have for each season have different characteristics, too. So I love Japanese seasons.
What are your goals for expanding your brand in the future?
I want everyone to see my actual work and know about it. I want them to be happy, even for a moment, when they see my work and say that’s cute♪ wonderful and beautiful♪ etc. So I’m doing my best to make them impressed and happy when they see something cute!!
In the world, I guess that there are some countries in which people who live there don’t have any chance to know much about accessories. Even if they know it, they maybe have no chance to see them.
What I mean by saying that I want everyone to actually see my work is that I want even for those people to see and wear such cute and beautiful items. So they can feel happy even for a little. I know that it will be very hard thing to do, however it’s my hope.
You are a good friend of Milk-Tee Nu Tiara and recently collaborated with her, Can you tell us more about what you did together?
She is very lovely person. At the moment, we are focusing on making video clips with her dresses and her as a model. We are thinking about our collaborating work this way.
I found out the cute dresses and kimonos which Milk-Tee Nu Tiara makes matches so well with Pinkhime’s items in the mood and color and so on. So I can see a lot of possibilities. I’m sure we will work together in the future in various ways.
Where can we go online to find out more?
Pinkhime facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pinkpink888
Pinkhime blog: http://pink1115pink.blog57.fc2.com/
Pinkhime online shop: http://www.pinktomo.com/
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