When I was young, I used to love to pretend to be a fashion designer and my parents bought me a fashion design kit which consisted of two flimsy purple plastic templates with which you could draw any style you liked – as long as it was a catsuit, and add a range of groovy accessories, including a large floppy hat.
All of my ‘designs’ bore an uncanny resemblance to the dance costumes sported by Pans People on Top of The Pops. Yes it was the 1970’s and Thursday night was TOTP night followed by Blankety Blank. Anyway, I digress as usual.
Caitlin has a flair for drawing and all things crafty (in both senses of the word!) so we were delighted to try out the toy I would have loved to have received instead of those flimsy templates – the Harumika Style Studio.
|Harumika Style Studio by Bandai|
Immensely popular in Japan, Harumika involves creating your own fashion designs on a small tailors dummy which allows you to tuck in pieces of material into a silicone strip at the back thereby creating a range of customised outfits. There is no cutting, gluing or sewing so even younger children can have a go at channelling their inner Vivienne Westwood. This set is targeted at the 6+ age group and I would say that’s about right since Caitlin will be 6 in November.
The Style Studio comprises a sturdy and very well made pink case intended as a shop window in which to carry and display your creation. One tailor’s dummy is supplied but there is room to display three. A starter kit of various swatches of material is also supplied so that you can begin to create your look. I would have liked an instruction leaflet, being a bit of an arts & crafts duffer but it didn’t take long to work out what to do and the packaging does give you some guidance.
There are loads of other kits available e.g. the Party Dress Kit or the Runway Show Stopper kit which supply different swatches of material and accessories, but you could also supplement the swatches supplied with off-cuts of material from old clothes or odd remnants. Harumika devotees can also upload their designs to a website and hold fashion shows and style-offs on the website at www.bandai.co.uk/harumika.
Within minutes, Caitlin had worked out how to use the set and created her first look. She has spent quite a bit of time draping various bits of her jewellery over the dummy to customise her various outfits. And not a floppy hat in sight.
Harumika kits are available at retailers such as Argos, Amazon and ToysRus and the Style Studio retails around the £25 – £30 mark. Caitlin is now campaigning for extra fabrics and kits and her tailor’s dummy is a new constant companion.
*A PR sample was received for the writing of this post.