I think most people have had a plush toy at least once in their life. As a kid, I had a bunch of stuffed teddy bears, parrots, and other animals, which were shared among my siblings and I. I guess you can say I've always been a fan of plush toys, but like many other peeps out there, playing with plush was a phase of childhood which dropped off quickly during the middle-school and teen years. I mean come on, what teenage male, has plush toys? Honestly?
Yet, Plush toys are still around, and no longer for kids. Artists who grew up with these stuffed creations have started the trend of making plush for a generation of grownups, and like the vinyl toy movement, designers inject their own quirky humor and personality to these toys, beyond the boring teddy bear design. Designer plush creations have been gaining in popularity, appearing in group art shows around north America, and in boutique shops.
One such store called Schmancy in downtown Seattle, Washington is more devoted to catering to the plush crowd then to the vinyl toy lovers. Which is totally fine by me, I think it's pretty cool. On my recent trip to Seattle, I discovered this store purely by mistake. I had been wondering about the state of vinyl toys in Seattle, and asked the folks at Golden Age comics. They directed me to Schmancy, but the store wasn't what I expected. It was full of plush, and not vinyl! Which was a welcome surprise, because I had never seen a store that was more specific to plush. Schmancy does have vinyl but it's clearly outnumbered by stuffed toys. In Vancouver the plush scene is non-existent, and the vinyl scene is pretty weak compared to other cities like Seattle, so finding this store on 1932 2nd Ave was definitely a welcome sight and a treasure for plastic and plush fans.
Established in 2004 the store offers up a wide selection of plush, and events like art shows every month, and the once a year Plush You! group plush show. The owner Kristen is extremely nice, and will discuss with you her love of plush and passion for the store. What makes this shop even more special is it's connection to companion shops 'Fancy' and 'Pants', creating the trio of Fancy-Schmancy-Pants. Just goes to show the support each store has for each other.
I'd be interested in making a plush toy at some point. It just requires a whole set of new skills, compared to customizing vinyl toys. Sewing and stitching is required learning for plush, and I haven't done that since being forced to take that class in high school.
Be sure to stop by the store if ever you're in Seattle.
Check out the Schmancy Blog!