WildBrain’s Tanya Mann on supporting Pride Month with Teletubbies’ first ever adult fashion collection

We caught up with Tanya Mann, Global Brand Creative at WildBrain, to learn more about the design of the range – and what made Teletubbies a perfect fit for Pride.

This month has seen WildBrain team up with GLAAD – the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer LGBTQ media advocacy organisation – to support 2021 Pride Month with a Teletubbies fashion collection for adult fans.

Proceeds from sales of the collection will benefit GLAAD to support its culture-changing work to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

We caught up with Tanya Mann, Global Brand Creative at WildBrain, to learn more about the design of the range – and what made Teletubbies a perfect fit for Pride.

Tanya Mann, WildBrain

Hi Tanya, great to connect! To kick us off, lots of people say they ‘fell’ into licensing. How did you start out working in the world of brands?
My journey into the world of licensing began during my time at Mattel. I was originally on the manufacturing side of the business but then switched over to licensing after becoming fascinated with how a global brand in a single category – in this case, toys – could be translated and expanded into a wide range of cross-category consumer products.

It’s a wonderful and thought-provoking challenge to find creative ways to connect with a brand’s core consumer with licensed products that touch every part of their daily life – right from the moment they pick up their toothbrush through to the time they go to bed.

You are Global Brand Creative at WildBrain. What does that entail?
I oversee the creative for all our franchise brands, with the exception of Peanuts. This is really all about spotting popular content from WildBrain’s catalogue and then vetting their potential to become a global IP with multiple consumer touchpoints.

The Teletubbies are all about bright colours, psychedelic visuals, joy and fluidity, and so connecting the brand with celebrating Pride Month felt like a natural reach.

Once we’ve identified a show that we think has what it takes, my role is focused on transforming it into a brand and exploring the creative core of it, as this is the framework for turning it into a potential franchise. This vision then gets turned into actual tools, such as assets and pitching documents, which are then shared with multiple departments across WildBrain’s global organisation to sell and market the show, as well as licensing the brand.

Great stuff. Right, let’s dive into the exciting Teletubbies Pride collection. What makes the Teletubbies brand a good fit for Pride?
The Teletubbies have always embraced their own offbeat quirkiness and sense of style, and we wanted to celebrate that ‘love who you are’ spirit through a colourful collection that would make Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po very proud.

The Teletubbies are all about bright colours, psychedelic visuals, joy and fluidity, and so connecting the brand with celebrating Pride Month felt like a natural reach. It also gave us scope to explore who the Teletubbies characters really are as, up until now, they’ve been largely unidentified and single-layered, so we’ve had a chance now to really dive down into their identities.

It was also important to us that we were giving back to create change, so it was a privilege to partner with GLAAD and support this year’s Pride Month through profits from the collection.

Tanya Mann, WildBrain

Absolutely. Talk us through the design of the range; what were some of the key decisions that helped shape the collection?
We wanted to make sure the collection was fashion-forward and wearable for adults, while still being playful. We didn’t want to utilise full character graphics in the collection, so we kept things slightly more subtle by honing in on some of the brand’s iconic symbols – particularly the Teletubbies’ antennas, which really are instantly recognisable throughout pop culture.

We placed the antenna symbols onto the words ‘Big Hugs. Big Love.’ which are used across the collection. We also used them in the designs of items, adding them to the stripes on the socks and the sling bag to add a pop of playfulness. The signature Teletubbies colours – red, yellow, purple and green – occur across the collection to create our very own rainbow flag.

You’ll see the catchphrase ‘Big Love. Big Hugs.’ used across the products, which came about when we were designing the core brand assets for Teletubbies. We really loved the phrase ‘Big Hugs’ that’s taken directly from the show’s vernacular and really encapsulates the celebratory and united nature of the Teletubbies. We then added ‘Big Love’ to create what we think is the perfect message of self-acceptance and inclusivity for Pride Month.

Tanya Mann, WildBrain

With Teletubbies being associated with the Nineties, were there any trends from the decade that you weaved into the range?
Yes! With the Teletubbies show born in the Nineties, it seemed fitting to go a little Nineties with the design, while still keeping it wearable, comfortable and appropriate for the month of June and beyond.

As such, we went in the direction of sportswear and included iconic products from the decade, such as a sling bag, vest and bucket hat.

Tanya Mann, WildBrain

This line also marks the first Teletubbies fashion collection for adults. Do you think there’s potential for the brand to do more in this space?
Definitely! There’s certainly strong adult appeal to the brand, particularly with those Nineties kids who either are now parents themselves or have Gen Z nostalgia for shows they grew up with. We think there’s great scope to give these adult fans the chance to re-live the show through some really fun and unique Teletubbies products. Watch this space – eh-oh!

Tanya Mann, WildBrain

Ha! I was wondering when we’d get an ‘eh-oh!’ in! Tanya, this has been great. One last question to wrap things up: How do you fuel your creativity?
Fuel for creativity is everywhere. I think the key is to live creatively in all aspects of your life and be open to inspiration from all around you – not just in consumerism, but in human behaviour, nature and nostalgia. I think Maya Angelou sums it up perfectly in one of my all-time favourite quotes: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Perfect! Thanks again Tanya, and congrats again on the Teletubbies Pride range.

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