The Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest spans the Danube river, connecting the Western and Eastern parts of the city. Opened in 1849, the bridge is named after Count István Széchenyi, who financially and politically supported its construction. Made of beautifully intricate wrought iron, the bridge was greatly damaged during the Siege of Budapest during World War II , and was partly rebuilt.
While exploring Budapest our designers came across a magnificent lion gracing the abutments at the end of the bridge.
He is a smaller stone replica of the famous bronze Trafalgar lions, guarding Nelson’s Column in London. and was installed on the bridge in 1852. Inspired by his noble features, our designers created this stylish shirt:
Know any little lions in your life? You can find this shirt here.
Emerik Fejes was a Serbo-Croatian painter well known for his simplistic depictions of architecture and cities. Part of the “naive art” movement, Fejes’s work is almost childish in nature, using bold colors and thick solid lines. Unconventional in his techniques, he chose to use matchsticks to paint instead of paintbrushes.
A button and comb maker, Fejes didn’t start painting until later in life, and drew much of his inspiration from postcards. When visiting Hungary you can apparently find many of his works in miniature, on postcards themselves! I really enjoy his work, and his use of cheerful colors and warped depths of field. Obviously slightly eccentric, he is also rumored to paint with a cat under one arm. I love that when researching him, the only biographical photo I could find of the artist is this one below :
Maramures is an old county in Northwestern Romania. Largely rural and agricultural, Maramures has held onto traditional farming and lifestyle methods, choosing to use manual labor to plow their fields and harvest their crops. Fine detailed handiwork is valued – and results in stunning embroidered fabrics, beadwork, carpet weaving and wood carvings. The cultural traditions of the Maramures region date back to before the Renaissance era, and have been carefully nurtured and preserved, and handed down through generations.
This season our designers were greatly influenced by a common item of traditional dress worn by Maramurian women and girls – a traditional red and black striped dress or skirt.
Honored as traditional garb for girls and women of all ages, you will still find variations on this style and pattern across the region.
This season our designers took a modern approach to this inspiration, and created our Maramures Dress:
With its bold black and red stripes, and its ability to be layered with warm leggings and cozy mocknecks, this dress is perfect for the winter and holiday season.
One of the most exciting parts of my job is when Laura and her traveling buddies come back from an inspiration trip. She brings us all kinds of goodies to enjoy – photographs, books, fabrics, toys. It’s so inspiring getting our first glimpse of a new culture and imagining what designs we’ll create after seeing them.
After Laura’s inspiration trip for “Old World Hungary” I was admiring these stuffed, applique and embroidered ornaments. I shared my excitement with the design team by saying, “These are so cute! I really love that awesome horse head one.”
Instead of the shared enthusiasm I would have expected from my teammates, I got blank stares. When I went over and picked up the ‘horse head’ ornament to show it to them, they broke out in laughter, and explained that my ‘horse head’ was actually a rooster and that I was holding it upside down.
To prove to the rest of my team that I wasn’t a complete fool, I designed this adorable “Paisley Pony” graphic inspired by… a rooster.
Owl was my first word. Or at least that’s what my parents tell me. I am sure I was just making ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ noises and someone thought it sounded like ‘owl’. Either way, I’ve received many owl presents throughout the years. So it was very exciting when owls started showing up in the fashion, home and craft scenes a few years back. I thought it was a trend that would die out, but instead it seems to be stronger than ever. An Etsy search for owl gives you over 30,000 results. There is even an entire blog – a pretty amazing blog, actually – dedicated to owl design and art: My Owl Barn.
I was little worried about creating a owl graphic for Old World Hungary. It seemed relevant because it showed up in the craft of all three countries we visited, it was even on the Romanian postage stamp. But how would I compete with all the amazing owl designs that were already out there? Many other clothing lines already had owl graphic tees. How could I make one that was more special?
top row: Marc by Marc, Misha Lulu, POL Clothing
2nd row: , Kate Garey, Alice Melvin, Soft Gallery
3rd row: Delias, Lucky Wang, Babylon Baby
After our inspiration trip to the library, I had a photocopy of this one embroidery that I loved. Every which way I looked at it I kept seeing an owl in it. Not a entire owl, just an owl wing or eye, and all I could think was what a cute owl graphic it would make. Since it came to me instead of me creating it – I figured it was a sign that I had to go ahead and make the owl graphic. I hope you like it!
For the final graphic I put him in a little tree that was inspired by traditional wood carving of the region.
Transylvania is a region in central Romania, nestled next the the Carpathian mountain range to the East and South. Dating back to the Roman empire, Transylvania has a rich history of battles, monarchies, and occupations. Despite its colorful past, in the USA Transylvania is known best for the myths of vampires, werewolves, and spirits that supposedly reside there.
In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote a book he called Dracula. While stories of vampires had existed before the release of Dracula, the popularity of the novel pushed them into the mainstream through books, theater, and movies. But how based in fact are these stories of the world’s most famous vampire?
The name “Dracula” is rumored to have originated from Vlad the Impaler’s full name – Vlad III Dracula. Vlad III is heralded by Romanians as a hero for fighting off the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 13th century, but unfortunately killed thousands of civilians in the process. Bram Stoker came across stories of Vlad when researching Romania for his novel, and borrowed the name Dracula for his main character.
What about Dracula’s castle? Transylvania has many old castles, and there are three in debate as to which is “Dracula’s” castle – Poenari Castle, Hunyad Castle, and Bran Castle. Bran Castle is marketed as the most credible, partly due to the fact that Vlad the Impaler (Dracula’s namesake) used to use the castle as a base during battles. Wanting to experience some of the legend, many tourists visit Bran Castle in search of the story of Dracula.
I always find it interesting to find out there is a little bit of truth, however tangential, in famous legends, particularly those of the spooky variety. Have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween!
In the spirit of celebrating Etsy artists from the region of Old World Hungary, here is another new favorite. Eszter Schall is a Hungarian painter, graphic designer, and illustrator. I love her bold use of colors and her use of squares.
Feeling lucky? The blog Pika Land is doing a giveaway of one of Schalle’s pieces on their site here.