The design philosophy of 2013 “Endless Wasteland”
1. Remodeling a classic is a challenge
After the first edition of Frankenstein sold out, we often received mails and feedback from fans. People had Frankenstein on the brain, and constantly asked if he would be appearing again. At Ringdoll, we won’t resell a special BJD that is sold out, because we should be responsible to customers who have bought it, as it is a limited edition. At the same time we should be responsible to our brand image. We create designs which challenge traditional concepts, but meanwhile we keep closing their sales. We don’t worry that ending sales in a popular design will bring a certain loss. On the contrary, we will strive to create more new and more interesting things, which becomes our motivator. It encourages us to keep pondering over, rather than live in foggy moments sans exuberant thinking. To our design team, fan’s calls for more Frankenstein made us excited again. At first, we had so much love for Frankenstein. Secondly, this character had many shining points that could still be shown. Therefore, we were very glad to go into his meaning seriously and revisit him. This idea caused our heart to soar with excitement, but at the same time we knew that it was undoubtedly a challenge to our team. In all walks of life, remodeling classic has been acknowledged is a huge challenge, whether it is remaking films or redesign. Even rebuilding a work which we have built before needs plenty of courage. Frankenstein 2011, was our team’s salute to Gothic and science fiction. We spent a whole year on him; people also were very fond of him. This year, we remodeled Frankenstein 2013, and we have made preparations for people’s various reactions.
In the beginning, we considered whether we should use Frankenstein 2011’s head, because we knew that if a welcomed thing was regarded as classic, it was must up to a certain standard in people’s hearts. So we were really worried about whether no longer using Frankenstein 2011’s head will be accepted by doll fans. Finally, we decided to remodel Frankenstein’s head. We had full reasons to do so. As mentioned, to a brand, reselling limited edition would make the doll lose his original meaning. The reason why Frankenstein 2011 became a classic at Ringdoll was that he met our specifications in every aspect, including the meaning of limited edition. We were responsible for our brand and customers who believed and bought our limited edition. So we made the final decision. For this resale, we heard many voices. Some liked, some were dissatisfied, but we were always glad to hear people’s views. Only learning from experience constantly could our design team mature. Undoubtedly, we are full of sincerity. The second edition of Frankenstein has completely different accessories, design and meaning. He has a face with an obstinate expression, unlike the face with a gloomy expression in the first edition. He is quite another doll. We wrote a sad story for his and Eva’s background. You can read it in the near future. In this story, you can see Ringdoll’s reinterpretation of Frankenstein’s love story. Of course, we will end the sale of the second edition of Frankenstein after some time in order to guarantee his value as limited edition. Meanwhile, we want to tell those who like Ringdoll, we will never stop moving forward in our thinking in our future.
2. Alike appeal and ideology
In the “ Endless Wasteland” 2013, besides remodeling Frankenstein, we reinterpreted Frankenstein’s bride from the original bok to show to you. In the original publication and many derivative works, the bride doesn’t have a name. She has a small role, being ruined before being vitalized. She is a tragic character who is praised highly and explored by many fans. Not until in the movie The Bride of Frankenstein, directed by Franc Roddam in 1985, did the bride have a name—-Eva. We continued to use this beautiful name and began our reinterpretation with the bride. Before giving her a new figure, we discussed first whether we needed a completely new story or not. As everyone knows, many BJD dolls of Ringdoll have specific backgrounds, such as The Rose of Swan and Our Sad Fairy Tale. This is our starting point, but meanwhile some said it was a shortcoming. BJD dolls require a lot of handwork. Unlike other collectables, fans collect them, but at the same time they enjoy the pleasure of DIY. They exhaust their abilities to make dolls in the eyes of themselves. Thus, we always endow our dolls with backgrounds, that may reduce fans’ pleasure.We have discussed whether we should stop writing stories, but the decision was that we wouldn’t abandon this action. We want to bring some of our thoughts through telling sad or happy stories.In our view, BJDs are regarded as soul carriers. They are not only clean and beautiful goods under the lights or on camera, we want to convey more things. These stories carry our thoughts, our emotions with which we endow our dolls, and what fans feel in each doll’s eyes—- déjà vu which moves people suddenly at a certain time. We believe every person who is moved by our dolls and stories can feel our thoughts and emotions when designing the doll. We are glad to share with you, and we are very grateful to your sympathetic view. When talking over the story of “Endless Wasteland”, we tried interpreting Frankenstein and his bride from our point of view. Thinking of life and romantic love are eternal themes to human beings. We didn’t have the heart to make Frankenstein be lonely all along, so we brought the bride to him. The design of the bride is compatible with the desires of Frankenstein. There are handmade crushed-diamonds on the white clothes. Though the clothes are tattered, we can see his genuineness everywhere. It is a decoration of sincere emotion. Unfortunately, the bride can’t see what Frankenstein has done for her. She yearns for a happy and free life, and is eager for people’s understanding and acceptance——This aim is the same as Frankenstein’s. However, the difference is that envy, vanity and vainglory accompany her ideology. her ideology becomes her lost heart’s accomplice. She is an utter monster who is walking in another direction, so we modeled the bride as an angelic-looking girl with a dim and twisted heart. She is full of envy and spite, tenaciously pursuing beauty. However, she misunderstands the meaning of beauty, it is a mistake that many make. “Visually, my first reaction was the famous instruments of torture in ancient Europe, the ‘iron maiden’. It has an elegant appearance, but is in fact a brutal lethal weapon. The garment pattern is based on a traditional wedding dress. But we use unbalanced design and show a broken and irregular pannier. The shape of the pannier which is specially made to be shabby and metaphorizes into a cage, a jealous and peacockish cage which fetters her life.”
—-Designer, Huang Shan
The basic concept, “broken” also is reflected in the sickle “Wasteland”. This sickle is completely different to sickles Ringdoll has released before. This is a ropey sickle covered with rust ( Making it is more difficult than making a new one). In order to create a broken effect, we chose the texture of dead branches to show the texture of wasteland. The huge-cage-looking pannier beneath the bride makes her seem difficult to move a single step. She is like a humanoid instrument of torture with the huge sickle in her hand. We want to show her twisted heart through these elements. Fettering people…Being difficult to move a single step… Hurting others with weapons…
Yes, in our story, she is a bad girl. But don’t blame her. Because according to DarkRingdoll’s traditional design philosophy, what causes this is mortal prejudice and her twisted ideology. We only use the bride to describe Frankenstein’s new life, a new direction. She is also lonely, and may be more lonely than Frankenstein. “Endless Wasteland” is Ringdoll’s second salute to the classic work Frankenstein, it is also a discussion between us and our fans. Between good and evil, LIGHT AND DARKNESS, life and death, love and hate, leaving and staying on，Everyone has different choices. The bride chooses to stay on, while Frankenstein chooses to leave. Frankenstein’s forgiveness, his exercise of forbearance and his romance, and Eva’s extreme twistedness, full of ruthless cruelty, both are filled with an appeal to their ideology. Being eager for understanding, love and felicity is the most basic and legitimate appeal, which leads these two people to very different endings.
Photos above from Ringdoll (from the top): Frankenstein with gas mask, book design, Eva detail, Frankenstein and Eva, detail of Eva’s Pannier.