Personal Project


1.1 Find the gap


List 1: Add in here your list of 5 to 10 everyday problems.

Find cute/pastel clothes for males.

Finding cute pastel Japanese style clothes.

Affordable different clothes.


Decorating shoes giving them a different feel.

Japanese style clothes easily available in Ireland

Lack of modern adult-themed cartoons 

‚Äúwish list‚ÄĚ of your 5 to 10 possible design projects.

Design my own Fashion brand.

Create my Cartoon animation for cartoon network or Disney whichever pays more.

Illustrate my own funny comic book.

Design my own home goods and stationery brand.

Design my own toy line.

Design a campaign and album cover for popular J-pop band or solo artist.

Collab with popular J fashion brands i.e angelic pretty.


1.2 Design project definition


In what way might I use graphic design to….promote a new fashion brand.


2.1 Persona

Name: Barbara Barb

Age: 22

Profession: Youtuber/Social Media



Barbara is young blogger/Social media Influencer expressing her love of Japanese pop culture through her wardrobe and lifestyle and shares it with her many fans online. She likes to experiment with the many J-fashion styles such as Lolita, Decora and fairy kei. She loves brands such as Angelic Pretty, 6%dokidoki and Tokidoki. She wishes there could be more Japanese styled brands closer to home that don’t cost an arm and a leg and for cuter styled clothes to come the western market.


Who are you going to design your big idea for? What is their name, age, profession, relationship status, demographic (kids, no kids, a favourite pastime, social media engagement etc). What types of things might this person say? Find a photo of a person who you feel fits your persona. You may also use a person you know (friend, partner, child, Grandparent, Parent). You may also use one of the personas from the IBM Design Thinking Workshop.


The style of clothes I want to create is based on styles from the streets of Japan a culture I personally love. My real goal is to bring this style of clothing into the western market and create a foundation for this style of clothing in the western market. I feel like certain trends of J fashion could translate into the western market. There are many sub fashion cultures in Japan that come from a place known is Harajuku! This is known as the place of J-fashions birth spawning many different styles and fashions.


Why I Love Japanese Culture:

You ask why? Why I choose this style and culture. It starts in my childhood I was born in 1996 making me a 90s child just barely but as a child, I loved two shows growing up that I used to watch all the time being Pokemon and Cardcaptors. These shows are also known as “Anime” which basically mean that it is animation that was produced


Early Years 



All images/ gifs shown are from the original Pokemon series tv show.  With short clips turned into gifs.

Pokemon is a Cartoon based on a series of games made in 1996 in Japan by game freak entertainment it exploded in popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s. It was licenced/imported and dubbed in English by 4kids entertainment which brought it to me where I watched it on the RTE Den for countless hours. The show and the universe it is set in is all about people living alongside magical creatures called Pokemon basically like super pets with elemental powers. People go around and tame/capture these Pokemon pets and battle each other alongside there. I still play the video games that the show is based and still am a fan of the media around it the show is still in production and recently hit its 20th anniversary. As a child what attracted about this show was the cute creatures and designs of the Pokemon and loved the idea of taming these creatures.





Original Manga Illustration covers Illustrated by clamp and sourced from the wiki.




                  All images/ gifs shown are from the original Cardcaptor series tv show.  With short clips turned into gifs.

Cardcaptors is another Japanese produced “Anime” written and made by Clamp. Cardcaptors is actually not its true name the real name of the series is CardCaptor Sakura, The name was changed to Cardcaptors by its English distributors to appeal to a wide market being boys and girls as CardCaptor Sakura can be seen as a more feminine title. This is an Anime production based of its written form of “Manga”. A “Manga” is a Japanese made comic book many Anime shows are usually adapted from Manga, This is because the medium is very popular in Japan.

The show follows the main character Sakura who finds a book of magical cards known as the “Clow cards”. These Clow cards are magical spells presented as cards when Sakura discovers these cards she accidentally lets these magical cards lose. This is when she meets kero the Guardian of the clow cards. He is a small yellow looking teddy bear with wings he tells Sakura since she is the one who released the cards she must be the one to seal them again. So Kero gives her a staff that she can use to seal the cards. So the show is her journey to capture all the cards and discover her own magical powers when she captures a new card it another spell she adds to her roster of available spells/ability’s.

The show is something of a beginning to me I like to call it my aesthetics birth. The show features magic, stars and Japanese cute style. There are links between this show and my personal style.

One thing I have always loved about the show is the fact that Sakura the main protagonist dawn a new outfit for each magical battle she is in. This I feel really shows the wonder and presentation of the show and something that I really loved and internalised as a child.


The Aesthetic outfits 

These Images were sourced from a fan-run wiki page that documents all the costumes worn by Sakura.

The show just loves wings and stars two themes that are the centre of my style today this is where that love and ideal was born from this show.

The Seeds Sprouted fruit

Thanks to my early introduction¬†to Pokemon and Cardcaptors It made me familiar with Japanese Anime style. So when I came of age to use the internet it wasn’t long before I started to experience other shows from Japan. It started out as watching other Japanese shows made into to English but that eventually, that dried up due to the limit of shows dubbed into to English. So I eventually graduated to watching shows in Japanese with English subtitles. Ever since then I watch almost everything in Japanese with subtitles giving me so much in the choice of what I like to watch.

I have only grown to love pokemon more.

I think I am a prime example of a “Pokemon Freek”. I was drawn to the series as a child and have never stopped loving the series and playing the games and it is getting progressively worse. As a child, I always loved getting pokemon plush toys and any merchandise possible as most children did but now as an adult, I have grown into a collector of Anime Items such and not limited to pokemon Plushies and merchandise. Pokemon play the merchandise game very well chances are at one point or another if you want a pokemon themed item its out there somewhere. I mainly collect pokemon Plush soft toys something about them just makes me want to own them and display them.


My Pokemon Plush Collection:

CardCaptors has opened a door that can never be closed.

We have established that cardcaptors was a very big thing for me and it basically made my love of Japanese culture. Becuase of this I found myself drawn to a particular type of series of anime know as the “Magical Girl” genre of anime. This is a type of anime series that features mainly female protagonists who have magical powers. This usually follows by a storyline of saving the world with said magical powers. Most magical girl shows are created to sell and market toys to young children and they usually revolve around these toys.

For example, most magical girls have something called a transformation scene.This is a staple of the magical girl genre almost all magical girl shows revolve around normal teenage girls transforming into magical warriors with magical items. These transformations usually involve the formation of a magical uniform out of thin air these are our for more for looks than anything and most of the time are just to look good rather than be anything practical such as big skirts frilly bows and huge hair.


Examples of Magical Girl transformations:


Sailor Moon:

Sailor Moon is very much one of the very first magical girl anime and made a lot of the tropes/ foundation of what is and what isn’t a magical girl anime practically any magical girl show has a reference to sailor moon somewhere in it. Magical girls usually transform using a trinket of some form this can range from anything. for example, sailor moon uses brooches to transform other shows use things such phones, jewellery and wands to transform themselves into there uniforms. And these are made into toys that are market towards children.

Example of a magical girl toy:


Magical Girls Sell Toys.

Heartcatch Precure – Cure Marine

Another toy magical girls sell are usually weapons. These are for the “Finisher attacks” most magical girl anime uses the monster of the day theme. This is where each episode is based on the heroes defeating a new monster each episode. These monsters can sometimes be the villains transforming innocent people into said monsters and in order to win the heroes must use their finisher on them making the monster disappear or purifying the civilian.




And this then leads to two toys that are marketed to children.  These toys usually have voice clips from the show and recreate to transformation scene with the voice clips and music. They also sometimes have mini-game and collectable to unlock more feature in the toys.

The toy version of the wand (Flower tact) and the transforming perfume (HeartPerfume)

I love magical girl anime for there nicely designed outfits and magical powers so eventually I started to also collect the magical girl toys too.


My Wand Collection:



Classic Japanese Fashion:

Japan as a culture holds on to is past profoundly.  Japanese fashions that fell out of everyday wear in the 19th century are regularly revived for holidays, ceremonies, festivals and cultural activities.

The best example of this is the kimono. This clothing item was originally an everyday item for both men and women. It is now graduated to modern day formal wear.  It is worn to weddings, funerals and other occasions. Kimonos are very expensive and a full kimono set can cost up to 10,000 dollars or 1065855.00 Japanese Yen.

Examples of Kimonos:

Womens kimonos are bright colorful masterpieces of embroidery and traditional Japanese design. They often display flowers and patterns.


Men’s kimonos are very different to there female counterparts.

They are more muted and are plainer in pattern.


Classic Japanese Prints:

Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai.

The Great Wave of Kanagawa is a beautiful Japanese print by Hokusai which remains the most popular piece of art from this country within the art public of Europe and the United States, many of whom rate Japanese art as amongst the best in the world.


Ando Hiroshige Print

Untitled by Ando Hiroshige

The print above is a famous but untitled Ando Hiroshige Print, one of several in fact. It features the traditional Japanese calligraphy alongside an attractive bird using the dark painting style common in Japan.


Suigin Grove and Masaki Hiroshige Print (1)

Suigin Grove and Masaki by Hiroshige

Suigin Grove and Masaki by Hiroshige features an attractive landscape view of flowers on a tree in the foreground with a Japanese mountain and lake in the background.

There is the normal use of Japanese calligraphy too, to make this a very popular work from Hiroshige who became one of the best known Japanese artists of his era.



Modern Japanese Fashion:

Couple clothing:


One thing I have noticed about fashion in Japan and Asia, in general, is the amount of couple clothing this is literally a fashion movement to dress identically to your partner to look like a pair or that you belong together. This can range to wearing that exact same thing the whole outfit can match your partner to his and her versions to a shirt that matches a dress.

This has actually already made a bit of an appearance in the western market.



For some reason couple love to rub in there relationship to us, single peoples. In the western market, this fashion isn’t as put together as its eastern sister while in Japan its a whole matching outfit over in the west appears to be just a matching top/t-shirt combo.



This is probably the most well-known style from Harajuku the style is known as decrora it is a style popularized by the fashion publication known as fruits. This style is an answer to the society of Japan which values the group over the individual and how Japan as a culture Japan is full of uniforms schools, businesses and everything between have uniforms and overall these fashion styles are almost a rebellion to that strict uniform dress code.


Fairy Kei:


This is another popular style know as Fairy Kei it is not in your face as decroa this style focuses on more cuter and pastel colours and aesthetic rather than the oversaturated colours I love this kind of style and it a style I would love to develop a brand around. I personally love pastels and bright colours and I know others do to this style isn’t really showcased in the west maybe by some social media stars but not in the mainstream fashion which is what I want to do by creating a brand was aspects of this style.


Lolita fashion:

Classic Lolita:


Another popular fashion style of Japan is known as Lolita Fashion. This is a style that gets its inspiration from Victorian period fashion. This style has main sup styles with such styles of sweet Lolita which is a much more cute/pastel version or a Gothic Lolita which is a black classical goth style Lolita. This is another style that has made it to the western world with some people importing this fashion but these are very small instances.

Sweet Lolita:

Gothic Lolita:

Japanese Style Brands:


Angelic Pretty:


Angelic Pretty is a Japanese clothing brand specializing in lolita fashion, The brand is one of the main contenders in the lolita scene and known for its cute style and distinct illustrations.


The brand concept:


The brand style is pure girly fantasy filled was lace, frilly pink bows and cute illustration featured dresses.

The dresses are released in lines based on certain themes such as baked sweets or snow fairies.