3D Retro Toys Strangecat Toys LIFT Designer Toy Store Unbox Industries Art Toys Soft Vinyl Martian Toys Art Toys Tenacious Toys Designer Toy Store


Onsite Coverage of Last Month's Design Festa in Tokyo!!!

About ten days ago I had the great fortune to be in Tokyo at the same time as the 44th Design Festa! It's a mega event that brings together artists, craft makers, and local businesses in a way that I have not seen other conventions do quite as successfully or at the same scale. While I didn't go for a very long time or take a lot of pictures, I thought it might be fun to share what I did get to see and give you an inside look of the event.

When I first arrived at the venue, approximately half an hour before the doors opened, the first thing I saw was this massive line. There are many ways to get tickets to the event - you either get them at local convenience stores (in case you didn't know, local stores like Lawson handles ticket purchases on the spot to events and tourist destinations, so you can buy tickets to the Studio Ghibli museum from there, for example. But you need to know Japanese ;) ), or you can buy them at the door. Despite the daunting line, it moved very quickly and you could get inside in 30 minutes or less without having pre-purchased tickets.

Upon entry, I booked it to the Chairoi Brown booth. This was not an easy booth to find - imagine the size of San Diego Comic Con's Exhibit Hall split across several floors and filled with tiny booths crammed together. It felt like I walked past thousands of booths. These are not large booths like at Designer Con, but literally tables divided by dividers, crammed with at least 20 booths per aisle. Booths were organized by style of goods, such as paintings and prints in one area, jewelry and other crafts in another, table top decorations, etc. One thing you will not see are franchise characters like Marvel or Pokemon anywhere (those are not allowed, not even interpretative versions!). Anyway, back to Chairoi Brown; in case you have not been introduced to this group, it is a pair of creative minds behind those amazing character plushes and dyed sofubi that you have seen showcased in shows with Studio Uamou, RealXHead, etc. They are so popular that when I showed up at the booth, suddenly there was a mad rush of footsteps and a giant group of people ran and lined up. I realized in horror that the line was for that very booth I had come to see.

In case you can't tell, I'm the sad sloucher in the back, very confused. It turns out that at the booth were several highly coveted sofubi colabs being released - Shef of Chairoi Brown had hand dyed several sofubi pieces produced by Uamou and RealXHead. I had only come for the plushes!

A kind buyer allowed me to take a photo of his RealxHead pick up. After the sofubi buyers left I could finally purchase my plushes. The sofubi all sold out in the first day. The plushes were a mix of bears and characters modeled after Mori-san of RealXHead, Tofu Man by DevilRobots, Uamou and Boo.

After leaving the Chairoi Brown booth, I decided to see what other sofubi were around. I managed to find the Konatsu booth, and saw the releases for the day. However, the line was wrapped around several walls and soon sold out about a couple hours after the day started. I did not attempt to get into that line.

Jeremiah Ketner and his family were also on hand with customs and prints available! While I was hanging out at his booth a fan from the UK came by and picked up a print; pretty neat to see such a far away fan stop by! Reminds you how small the world is.

Also ran into Black Rabbit Sofubi for the first time. Love the various colors and shine!

In addition to booth visits, you could observe live paintings, or watch live performances. One performance featured a melancholy performance from a singer. Another one was a lively dance group that had hidden people in the audience and when they started dancing, the hidden people jumped up from the audience and joined in. Definitely a fun event to remember, and there was simply not enough time to see everything (I went about half a day, imagine if I went two days!). A must for anyone who visits Tokyo. The next Design Festa has been announced for May 2017, so keep your eyes and ears ready for updates closer to!

No comments