China has the panda, the Netherlands has the rabbit; and her name is Miffy.
Usually, Miffy is seen wearing her royal Dutch orange colors. But on Monday, when Dutch King Willem Alexander visited Dashilar, Beijing's creative hub, Miffy had on a custom made pink and grey Tangzhuang (traditional Chinese clothing).
As reported by Chinanews.com, Miffy and a twin Miffy, both wearing Tangzhuangs, were given to the king as a welcoming gift when he was at The Nurturing House - a Dutch pavilion which showcases intuitive designs from Holland and China.
En Hao, project Manager of the T-Mall Miffy shop in China said, "we've been planning to give King Willem-Alexader of the Netherlands the Tangzhuan Miffy for two months now, and the designs of the Tangzhuang Miffy were initiated then. We are happy it came out in time."
According to En, the Miffys in Tangzhuang have been modified five times before the final decision was decided upon, and that for every change, the design team has to send samples back and forth between China and the Netherlands - as Miffy productions are not licensed in China.
"I made many phone calls to the designer, Jamy Yang, discussing details of The Tangzhuang Miffy. We finally gave up the typical Chinese red dress for the Tangzhuang Miffy as the color wasn't to the designing standards," En said.
Yang is a young Chinese product designer chosen by the Miffy production company for his love of Chinese culture and his "consistent devotion to charity works."
"Miffy came to China this year as part of their international public welfare program that aims at promoting early education for the many left-behind children in China. I feel honored to participate in the program as a designer," said Yang.
He said he carried out the philosophy that founding father Dick Bruna always stuck with, which is using concise lines and symbols with simple colors. "So, the Chinese buttons and the Mandarin collar were adopted as symbols of traditional Chinese clothes in the final designs," Yang said.
So far, there are seven types of Miffy toys being sold at Tmall's Design More flagship store – Miffy in a blue sailor costume, a pink winter gown, a green floral green dress, a red dragon pattern Qipao, a royal orange shirt, and a Dutch football shirt.
The last one comes with its own story.
"Former Ajax and Holland soccer goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is on the royal trip to China because the Dutch will help train Chinese children at 50,000 schools in China," said Michael Hendriks, project manager of International Bon Ton Toys, the only global licensed company for producing Miffy toys.
"That's why we also developed the Holland Soccer Miffy," he said.
The tangzhuang Miffy is due to join the other six for sale online in November.