Man Behind the Brand

Meet the artist behind lifestyle brand tokidoki, and no he isn’t even Japanese.

words sabrina lee
photos courtesy of the artist and
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To the entire world he is tokidoki, a huge international brand which has created a cult-like following for both young kids and fashionistas alike, an icon in the modern world of art and a man who has created countless unique and playful characters through which he has found fame and success. His name is Simone Legno and he is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of tokidoki. Born in Rome in 1977, Simone began drawing cute kawaii characters as a child: beautiful geishas, smiling cactuses, animated bullets, funny skeletons, rainbows, flowers, diamonds and milk-carton cows, all of which constitutes the world of tokidoki.

As a little boy, Simone would watch Japanese anime. Through the popular art form, Simone caught a glimpse of the world of Japanese iconography — which included cherry blossoms, bullet trains, school uniforms and kimonos among other things. When he became a teenager, Simone would visit The Japan Cultural Institute in Rome regularly as Japanese pop culture started taking off in Italy in the late ’70s and ’80s. There, he would watch movies, study the language and learn more about the Japanese culture, “I feel like this interest was something that developed naturally.” To date, the artist’s fascination with Japan remains just as strong.

Learn more about his inspirations in May-July 2018 issue of little.