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By Erika Haslup, staff writer

Little colorful creatures have been claiming their spots on a wide variety of brand name merchandise. From bags and toys to clothing and accessories, the Tokidoki design is truly making an impact in the fashion world.
Tokidoki (meaning “sometimes” in Japanese) is the Japan-inspired lifestyle brand created by Italian artist Simone Legno and his business partners Pooneh Mohajer and Ivan Arnold. Consisting of colorful and playful characters, the design strives to reflect Legno’s vivid personality and imagination. His sunshiny world is filled with a contrast of good and evil, illustrated through his smiley flowers and rainbows along with evil-grinning chili peppers.
“ Tokidoki is a happy world. It is a cute, playful, pure yet provocative world that I image, live in, and dream of,” said designer Legno, 29, of Italy in an interview with design and fashion reviewer Josh Spears.
His designs also reflect his fascination with Japanese culture and art forms. He recalls drawing Asian characters when he was only four.
“ In Italy in the ‘80s, there were a lot of TV shows imported from Japan. I had an instinctual attraction to Asia and Japan, and every time I saw something from Japan, like cherry blossoms, I would get goosebumps. It was a very emotional involvement,” said Legno.
He added, “The first time I had money, I went to Japan. It was my first dream to go there. I went 12 times because I like very much the iconography.”
He admires the duality in Japanese art and culture, from the traditional elegance of wood prints to “super crazy, colorful, noisy things,” like videogame parlors.
This is apparent on many of the Tokidoki products being sold in brand name stores like LeSportsac, Coach, and Prototype.
And perhaps what attracts his many fans to his design is the fact that Tokidoki’s unique and playful vibe targets a wide range of audience from children to adults.
“ The Tokidoki design is very popular because many age groups can enjoy it, said Diana Caballero, 21, a nursing student from Waipahu. “Since it’s affiliated with a trusted brand name, older people will want to wear it. And since it’s cute and colorful, it’s also appropriate for 3-year-olds.”
Caballero who has been supporting the design for almost a year explains how she immediately wanted to buy a product after seeing “everyone around her wearing it.”
“ I would see people carrying not just Tokidoki bags but t-shirts, jewelry, and even iPods,” added Caballero.
Others say they like the design because it’s “colorfulness” happens to bring convenience as well as a different attitude.
“ You can match anything with Tokidoki because there’s so many colors,” said Kristine Cabudol, 22, another nursing student. “The colors make it more fun and expressive compared to other brand name products that are usually simple solid colors.”
Cabudol who has the design on nearly everything she owns, from t-shirts to earrings, shared how the Tokidoki products make her feel more “cultural and unique.”
“ What’s cool about Tokidoki is that you can tell the merchandise all have a hint of the Japanese culture,” added Cabudol. “But its colors and diverse designs make it a universal trend for everyone to wear.”
Regarding whether or not the Tokidoki trend will stick around, Janice Mizuno, manager of the retail store Animation Addict in Ala Moana, explained how the chances of it fading away are unlikely. With a new variety of incoming products including laptops, watches, and skateboards, the design will continue to spread.
“ I can’t predict the future, but I’m pretty sure the trend will be in style for a while,” said Mizuno. “As long as the marketers keep them looking fresh and new, you’ll be seeing a lot of Tokidoki.”



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