Are you Calcifer or Howl? Stink Studios makes interactive Ghibli experience for Loewe
We speak to Stink about why working with beloved Miyazaki material was “exciting and terrifying in equal measure”.
- Liz Gorny
- 2 February 2023
After revisiting masterpieces My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, Loewe has now tied things up chronologically with a collection inspired by Miyazaki’s 2004 Howl’s Moving Castle, shot by Jurgen Teller. Like the previous collections, accessories and clothing have been adorned with the film’s key characters – this time, we see bags transformed into fire demon Calcifer and Howl’s Castle itself. Stink Studios has also got involved, creating an interactive mobile experience to promote the launch. The project takes users through the castle, before telling them which Moving Castle character they take after.
For Stink, the project presented the opportunity to work with an iconic piece of cinema, which came with its own set of pressures. Beyond the obvious boundaries the studio was required to work within – “any new animation or adaptation with the story was obviously a definite no-no”, says head of design Viv Greywoode – the experience had to feel true to a world Ghibli fans know inside out. “The scenes and characters from the film already have such a unique sense of wonder and amusement; we just made each interaction as simple as possible, and spent a great deal of time crafting the details to ensure it felt intuitive while retaining the magic of the original story.”
The mobile experience is one of a few promotional activations that surrounds the launch. To tease the collection, which lands today (2 February), Loewe also created an inflatable Moving Castle – shown at Parvis du Musée de l’Homme in Paris from January 19–21. The castle is currently situated at Marble Arch, London until 5 February. Loewe also takes residence at Selfridges from 1 February with a unique culinary experience and Studio Ghibli exhibition space in the Corner Shop.
Users can access Stink’s interactive experience via a custom QR code version of Calcifer. Beginning inside the Moving Castle, the user is transported to a scene via a spin of the magical circular dial from the film. The user is invited to make a selection of choices from options based on the film’s narrative. “The decisions are rated on a scale from greed to generosity, and we developed some logic behind the scenes to determine which character the user was most closely connected to,” says Viv. You’re then given a character, whether Sophie, Turnip Head or Witch of the Waste, and exclusive assets to share online.
Viv offers further context on the collaboration: “The team at Loewe has obviously developed a great relationship with Studio Ghibli through their ongoing collaboration over the years, so there’s a lot of trust and clarity in feedback. [...] Our overall objective was to help create a deeper affinity between Loewe customers and the movie. By highlighting the personalities of key characters and iconic scenes from the original story, we hope to connect with everyone; from Studio Ghibli die-hards to those discovering the film for the first time.”
Stink Studios: Loewe x Howl’s Moving Castle (Copyright © Loewe / Studio Ghibli)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.