Teddy bears wearing Ewha baseball jumpers, mesh pencil cases, and eco-friendly bags are some of the most popular products at souvenir shops located at Ewha Womans University. While they are memento of tourists’ visit to Ewha, for Ewha students, they tend to become their daily items. It is common to see students carrying beautifully designed eco-friendly bags with the school logo. Jeon Ka-won, a graduate who majored in Fiber Arts, is the innovative designer behind these souvenirs loved by all.
Jeon was always passionate about Ewha’s souvenirs. When she was an undergraduate student she would often draw designs of certain types of souvenirs she wished the school would sell. This habit continued and became the basis for Jeon designing Ewha souvenirs
As the products designed by Jeon are souvenirs of Ewha Womans University, she believes that they should convey the school’s characteristic the most.
“I mostly get ideas and center my designs around school buildings and Ewha’s symbol, a pear blossom,” Jeon said. Sometimes, Jeon gets her spark of ideas from everyday lives of students such as the stickers that parody the phrase “Keep Calm and…” by incorporating with different struggles and relaxation of students.
When brainstorming different ideas, Jeon tries to select the most innovative idea that can break away from the conventional concept that “souvenirs are just ready-made products with a school logo.” Being trendy and pretty, while at the same time reflecting Ewha, Jeon’s designs create souvenirs that are exclusive to Ewha.
What makes her souvenirs special is that Jeon’s designs harmonize both the school and students into her product. With a better understanding of the people of Ewha as a graduate, Jeon was able to combine her own innovative ideas with characteristics of the school.
“As I had attended Ewha, I was able to empathize what type of products students would most want,” Jeon said. “In addition, by receiving opinions from alumni and students both off and online, I try to make products that incorporate their preferences.”
As Jeon’s designs satisfy the everyday needs of Ewha students while staying true to its original purpose as a souvenir, products are very popular. During the break time, Ewha students frequently visit souvenir shops and Ewha COOP stores to buy the merchandise and use them on a daily basis.
“I think the high popularity of school souvenirs can be attributed to students’ attention toward school products, but students’ pride and love of Ewha also play a large role,” Jeon said.
In case of “Ewha bottle,” last year, it has become a fad in the campus that the demand exceeded originally expected supply. Still there are many students using it as their daily water bottle.
“Ewha bottle was the most impressive product as on its release,” Jeon added with a bright smile. “I remember sending all those parcels in a frenzy as there were so many online orders.”
With its popularity, Ewha’s souvenirs are also gathering attention from outside of school and this has led to other schools taking into account the uniqueness of Ewha souvenirs’ designs.
“Right now, I am planning to renew current products with new colors and designs, along with brainstorming for new ideas,” Jeon said. “I wish to develop everyday products or stationary that provide not only convenience to students and alumni but also pride as a member of Ewha.”