Held in Penang Malaysia this April, Penang Fashion Week highlights fashion designers and brands from around the region through exhibits and the catwalk at Gurney Paragon Mall.
Smart Doll was invited as a brand to be showcased at the event and marks a milestone for us for many reasons. The Star Newspaper uploaded a short video of the event to the tubes.
My first challenge was to create the product. The second challenge was to sell the product and now the challenge is to further introduce the product to people who would not normally experience it.
1/3 scale dolls have mainly been targeted at a small niche group of people. These folks are very important to us but if we continued to target the same group, all we will end up doing is follow in the footsteps of other doll manufacturers.
Its important for me to continue to build a new market for Smart Doll - through doing so, we have already achieved a customer base where 80% of our customers are first time doll owners.
I am branding Smart Doll as a Fashion Doll - but not just as a doll which you dress up in fancy apparel - I want to make Smart Doll a new standard for the fashion industry.
Smart Doll comes in a size (about 60CM tall/ 2 feet/ 23.6 inches) that enables fashion designers to create apparel in a scale that closely matches designs made for humans. The distinct model look of Smart Doll has been recognised by the human fashion scene and has already walked the catwalk of international fashion shows.
A designer can travel abroad for business meetings or fashion shows and rather than show her apparel designs on an iPad, she can now show a physical miniature version which her Smart Doll is wearing. Clients and buyers can now not only see the outfit from various angles but also feel the material too.
The cost efficiencies and practicality means that:-
#Designer does not need to hire models (or makeup artists) just to show case their work.
#Designer can carry multiple outfits in their carry-on rather than in check-in luggage.
#Designer can showcase their collection of apparel at events for a fraction of the cost of land due to the smaller scale.
#Material costs for samples can be made at a fraction of the cost of human sized outfits.
Smart Doll was showcased along with other designer brands at Penang Fashion Week.
This time, only our Smart Doll girls were highlighted during the show but I'll be designing more apparel for guys as we release more male Smart Dolls.
Being my first fashion show, I had a lot to learn but Penang Fashion Week was a great introduction into the world of fashion. I'm already working with a few Japanese brands and will be doing more shows starting this Summer in Japan. Will let you know when details are set in stone.
I chose quite a few street fashion items as our apparel line is one of the most distinguishing aspects of Smart Doll.
A learning from the show is that the screen at the back should be black - if its white then it throws the lighting settings of the camera off and the subject ends up looking dark. Something to bear in mind if you ever do a show and are asked for data for the back screen.
There is one thing I need to overcome when thinking about future shows - and that is how to fix the position of the dolls so that they don't move when models hold them.
Most of the models are not used to holding dolls and sometimes they would accidentally push an arm out of place.
We did choose poses as simple as possible so that in the event that an arm did move out of place, the dolls would not end up looking like zombies.
We did have to tape down the hairstyles so that they didn't fall off during the show but didn't go as far as super gluing everything to keep the body positions like we did for the TV show Doesu Deka.
Models walk very fast! This was the first time I've ever had to use the burst mode on the Sony A7II. Getting good photos of the event are just as important as the event itself and I was fortunate to have a few comrades to help cover other angles.
Yep - they do that designer-on-the-catwalk-after-the-show thing too ^^
And right at the end of the whole show, a select number of looks would come back on for a final parade.
Earlier on in the day, I got to spend time with my models to go over how they should hold the dolls.
Backstage preparing the girls.
And here is just some of the press featuring Smart Doll.
As part of Penang Fashion Week, Smart Doll was also exhibited at Gurney Paragon Mall.
This is great as Smart Doll is exposed to folks who would not normally encounter them.
Smart Doll is also a platform for me to continue to share Japanese culture through Made in Japan workmanship, fashion culture and collaborations.
Smart Doll being introduced as a skill set into the curriculum at Equator College. Now we are in two educational institutes (the other being Kadokawa) meaning that I need to look into how to manage logistics and payment for educational pricing.