Studio Ghibli en vogue

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Canadian designer takes inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki

By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor

If you don’t know who Hayao Miyazaki is or what Studio Ghibli is, I’m not sure we can be friends—which you should totally want, because I’m pretty cool. Anyway, Canadian company Wizards of the West has recently released an entire unisex line of clothes that feature some of Miyazaki’s most beloved characters—carefully crafted into interesting designs for T-shirts, leggings, and sweatshirts.

So far only six of Studio Ghibli’s over 20 films have been chosen to be featured in the line, but the company has claimed that they plan to add more in the second part of the collection. For the moment, Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, and Academy Award winner Spirited Away are the first to receive designs in the collection.

Studio Ghibli itself is no stranger to receiving praise from an English-speaking fandom. In 1996, Disney acquired exclusive international distribution rights to Studio Ghibli films. This act was a major contributing factor in saving Disney when they risked bankruptcy prior to the 2002 North American release of Spirited Away and its subsequent Oscar win. However, the arrangement has been mutually beneficial. Due in part to Disney being able to attract big-name voiceover talent such as Tara Strong, Christian Bale, and Billy Crystal for the English dubs, Studio Ghibli has produced eight of the top 15 highest grossing anime films—Spirited Away being number one with over $330 million USD worldwide.

For Wizards of the West, this will be their first full line, though they have dabbled in other graphics including a pair of 50 Shades of Grey themed leggings and some World of Warcraft merchandise.

As for the line itself, it is extremely casual. You can definitely tell that the designers have at least watched the movies because more child friendly and whimsical films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo feature more colourful designs, as opposed to the darker design for the far more serious Princess Mononoke. My only real issue from a fashion perspective is that some of the colour choices on a few of the pieces make them look like medical scrubs—that minty, hospital blue is not a good look on anyone.

Overall, I think the line is cute, and I am certainly all for expressing your favorite nerdisms through fashion; however, I’m a little suspicious of what sorts of body types these clothes will and will not fit. The cut of certain items, mainly the dress shirts and sweatshirts, already look to be out of proportion on the models, which makes me wonder what they will look like on an everyday person.

In either case, I’ll probably be holding on to my money—at least until they come out with something from Howl’s Moving Castle.