officialKAP is inspired by two things: my wife and our trips to Japan. I've always been inspired by Japanese Art from historical screen paintings and Hokusai wood block prints, all the way to more modern works from artists like Yayoi. The diversity of Japan's art scene has always drawn me in, and in 2013 we made our first trip to Japan and we met face to face with the Japanese art scene. Growing up loving anime, I knew what a cute Sanrio character looked like, and quickly found a mash up of cute characters and modern streetwear. We continue to go back to Japan and experience directly a whole different cultural and design perspective that influences my work to this day.
At the same time in 2013, my wife had found and continued to share with me video after video of Red Pandas. By 2015 I was in a job with no creativity, and picked up my pencil and began drawing. Eventually creating what would eventually be the officialKAP logo as a cute red panda head as a present for my wife. At some point along the way, we learned that red pandas were losing habitat and being poached. This was awful news and in 2018, I decided that we should do more to help red pandas.
officialKAP was born in 2018 from the drawing I had done years earlier for my wife. KAP stands for Kawaii Akai Panda, which isn't the Japanese name for a red panda, that would be "Lesser Panda". Kawaii Akai Panda, which literally reads Cute Red Panda, started with embracing the Kawaii aspect of the red panda. Their face is small on their big head, their legs are stubby, and they still climb, their tail is long and thick. I knew that cuteness would have to be foremost. From there it was just finding a printer, a manufacturer, and then exercising my drive to design to give people products that reminded them how cute red pandas are, while also giving back to help save red pandas.
We donate half of our profits to Red Panda Network so that these cute little creatures will still be around for future generations to enjoy. Buying officialKAP helps support conservation efforts for this adorable endangered species.
Est. 2018 Seattle, WA