Everyone has something that they never really grow out of. For some, it might be Disney movies; for others, maybe it’s remote-control vehicles. In my case, it’s plush.
Although I’ve always had an appreciation for stuffed animals, I oddly never had one as a comfort object. I liked collecting, naming, and arranging them on my bed. As an adult, I appreciate plush as art—a form of sculpture, if you will. Walking the floors of the Jacob Javitz Center for Toy Fair, I had the pleasure of seeing all kinds of plush—realistic, abstract, soft, fuzzy, big, and small.
My favorite pieces are the abstract ones. They just seem to draw me in like a magnet. This is how I discovered Cate and Levi, a company that creates adorable creatures from reclaimed wool. Not only do they make animals and puppets, they’ve gone beyond toys and created plush animal plaques as home décor. Sweatertoys, a small, Brooklyn-based company, makes beautiful plush animals from recycled sweaters and recycled polyfil, enhanced with vintage patterned fabric accents.
Many manufacturers are using complex fabrics and plush blends to create intricate surfaces on their products. Aurora has introduced a line called Sea Sparkles, featuring mermaids, sea creatures, and purses, which are plush items dotted with metallic-y spots that make each piece sparkle and shine in a magical way.
Gund is entering new territory with its plush Zombie line, Gunderground, as well as its line of bears featuring tattoos and piercings. Geared For Imagination’s Delingos collection, which are whimsical, colorful masterpieces, are another impressive example of unconventional and creative plush.
While I personally like the abstract, there is certainly something to say for the realistic realm of plush. While the old standby, the teddy bear, is alive and well in the plush category, rarer animals and forms are popping up. Aurora features a bison, a lynx, and a wooly mammoth, while Douglas offers a stingray, an alpaca, and a roadrunner.
For more new plush items, watch for our March/April issue of The Toy Book, which will feature a product showcase on plush, as well as an article including retailer and manufacturer perspective.
For more commentary from Christine, check back each Tuesday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!