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Are llamas the new unicorns?

For the last several months, the world has been indulging in unicorn toast, unicorn cupcakes, and even unicorn Frappuccinos. People are sipping coffee out of unicorn mugs and resting their heads on unicorn pillows. But lately, we’re seeing a homelier, less glittery four-legged animal come into the limelight, and we’re officially calling it: 2017 is the summer of the llama.

Though they lack the magic and mysticism of unicorns, llamas have a cuddly factor and an adorable, fixed smile that makes them ideal for graphics on soft goods. Around the world, llamas are often kept as house pets and used for their soft wool, so it’s no wonder why their image transitions so easily to tactile products. At the Licensing Expo Japan last May, llamas, along with alpacas and sheep, had a strong showing, topping stuffed animal and wooly slippers.

In the US, retailers are quickly catching on to the llama craze. With summer 2017’s colourful tassel adornments on bedding, pillows and bath products, and the plethora of frazada-inspired stripes across interiors, llamas are an appropriate compliment. At West Elm, a llama decks a textural embroidered pillow, while at Urban Outfitters, a fuzzy llama pillow dons a patchwork blanket. Even Jonathan Adler looked to the llama for inspiration for his simple, sculptural animal décor.

Who knows, with the llama’s sudden fame across interiors, Instagram’s “Llama With No Drama” might just become summer 2017’s hottest influencer.

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  • Wait. What exactly do you think lead to their popularity? What do you think is behind the shift from unicorn to llama? Do you think magical mysticism is waining? What does the llama represent about our collective psyche now vs how we felt when the unicorn was so popu?

  • Pingback: Are llamas the new unicorns? | No. Betteridge’s Law()

  • Carlene (Team WGSN)

    Hi Raqui thanks so much for the comment. As we predicted, S/S17 is all about what we called “Encounter Culture” (subscribers can check out the report here- https://www.wgsn.com/content/board_viewer/#/62421/page/1). It’s a lot of global craft and mixed textiles (think hand embroidery, weaving and raw/natural textures), along with lots of bold colors (pompoms etc) and so the buzz around the llama patterns and designs feed into this. It’s not that the llama is going to replace the unicorn fore

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