CNY2021 - Our Inspiration

CNY2021 - Our Inspiration

Posted by Audrey Ng on

What a year it has been….

This was exactly how my previous CNY blog post started, except these words carry such added meaning today. It was a busy year working to bring to life our business plans with all the limitations of the pandemic - from new baby blankets, swaddles, bibs, PJs, to a new Summer collection, to our new store within a store in Tangs! We gave you a glimpse into the effort we put in designing a print through our behind-the-scenes showcase, and we loved your enthusiastic response!

But what made 2020 truly different was not so much the pandemic or how busy we were, but that we learnt just how deeply connected the whole world is – wherever in the world you lived, everyone has been affected in one way or other. For us, what helped us get through this year was the blessings of love and friendship we received from family, friends, partners and customers-turned-friends. 

So as we thought about our theme for CNY2021 during the circuit breaker, we felt it would be meaningful to capture this shared connection. From our earliest beginnings, we’ve prided ourselves on creating new CNY designs every year because we believe a new year deserves something fresh - from fishes (2013), to Japanese fans (2015), to pandas and gingko leaves (2017), to cranes, mandarin ducks and bamboo (2019) and a different assortment of flowers in every year! For CNY2021, we wanted to create a collection like no other that would also remember a year that was like no other.

For the first time, Elly’s CNY2021 will be a journey around the world to celebrate things in places we had seen before the world's borders closed. CNY2021 draws inspiration from across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas to bring you designs incorporating influences from these regions, weaving in CNY, and even some subtle touches of Disney as well!

This CNY2021, we invite you to look at each print individually as we take you on our journey inspired by colours, motifs, themes and art from different countries, seen and interpreted through our eyes.

How many prints do we have this year? Let's start with One and Two.

We start our journey in Asia, being inspired by the Japanese philosophy behind kintsugi, translated as "golden joinery". This (non-Disney) print in teal and red is inspired by the art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum by emphasizing, not hiding, the brokenness. While this art form is used in pottery, we drew inspiration from the pottery creations to translate into a fabric print. Instead of gold, we decided to fill the cracks with Chinese New Year-inspired icons. It is a fitting start to our collection that speaks to creating something even more beautiful and resilient in 2021, to look at the scars left behind from wounds whether in your personal journey or, for us, the lessons we learnt as a small business, and be undeterred to continue on to create something even more beautiful.


Three, Four and Five

Our second set of three prints were inspired by the dancheong, a type of Korean traditional painting on wooden architecture using five basic colours - red, blue, yellow, black and white. The intricate and vivid flower design on certain Korean architecture resonated with us and became the idea behind these prints. We focused on red, blue and yellow to create two intricate versions with hidden Mickeys and a more vivid print in a (non-Disney) Dancheong Mosaic. Traditional yet modern. I love how the background in these prints are reminiscent of the Peranakan tiles we've designed in previous years but with a different life breathed into it with vividly coloured flowers! 

Elly CNY 2021 - Blue Dancheong
Elly CNY 2021 - Dancheong Mosaic


Six and Seven 

Our third set inspired from Asia comprises classic Chinese icons with a fun twist! Yes, it's Mickey Mouse meets martial arts this CNY! We've added an intricate knot pattern behind Mickey as he practises his kungfu!

Another print inspired from Asia are the Disney Tsum Tsums dressed in the 12 animals of the zodiac calendar! Can you spot all the zodiac animals? You’ll find other CNY icons such as firecrackers, cabbage and coins! We kept this bold and red especially for those days you intend to go visiting! 

Coin Tsum Tsums


Elly CNY 2021 Kungfu Mickey


For our next print, we move to the continent of Europe where we drew inspiration from paisleys. Paisleys, named for the Scottish town that famously produced them, are teardrop-shaped motifs with a curved upper end. Here, the story is that while the print has become synonymous with Scotland, the motif has roots in India and Persia, which just shows how connected we all are. We’ve woven in characters from a Disney movie so subtly that you will have to look closely to find them! See if you can guess which movie it is? 

Elly CNY2021 Lion King Paisley

Our ninth print is inspired by patterns and bold colours which we typically associate with African prints. We chose the Disney Classic of Alice in Wonderland because of a family tradition of playing cards during CNY! We wove in a bold red maze for children to try to find their way out of the maze printed on their outfits! You'll find multiple Start and End Points throughout the print! Look out for the Queen of Hearts and her soldiers lurking around the corners of the maze! 

Elly CNY 2021 - Alice Maze


Hang on!

That's only halfway around the world! The second part of our journey takes us to Tropical 2021! 

When we started designing in June, we didn’t know if everyone would be allowed to go visiting during CNY so we also wanted to bring you a collection that you could wear all-year long! For Tropical 2021, we bring you a completely fresh take on prints! Think palm leaves, vibrant colours and topsy turvy characters...... we move all the way across the globe to the Americas to throw a Hawaiian-inspired tropical party with Disney Classics! Just put on your new dresses and relaxed shirts - add a sun hat, sunglasses and sandals and you're ready to start your weekend. 

Ten and Eleven

Our first two prints in Tropical 2021 bring a wild mash-up by transporting animals from the African savannah to live and breathe the Aloha spirit with vibrant colours and tropical leaves. We were inspired by the Aloha spirit which means mutual regard and affection, extending warmth in caring with no obligation in return. 

Elly Tropical 2021 - White Simba

Elly Tropical 2021 Simba


Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen

In our second set of Tropical 2021 prints, we've added a pop of colour to this Disney print! Think pink, peach and fuchsia! This mash-up transports another set of beloved Disney characters to a tropical jungle, complete with huge leaves and even a hut! It's safe to say this is our "wildest" print ever! 

 Elly Tropical 2021 - Forest Green Jungle Book

Elly Tropical 2021 - Jungle Book Peach



For our last print for Tropical 2021, we took the chance to showcase Donald, Daisy and Donald's nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie! This extended Disney family always has fun together and where better than on this sunny tropical island. Perfect for CNY family fun! 

 Elly Tropical 2021

Over the years, customers would text us their personal favourite from each CNY collection after we launch our Facebook album! We look forward to hearing what you think about each print and how you mix and match from our collection! Families would usually twin within one print and maybe play around with two colour options. So we wanted our collection to be cohesive in theme across prints but at the same time to be careful not to offer you more of the same choices. Our two drops, CNY2021 and Tropical 2021, will showcase 15 new prints inspired from around the world! Start CNY Day One with a more formal Wrap Cheongsam Blue Dancheong Mickey, put on a well-loved Summer Dress Lion King Paisley for Day Two and enjoy a relaxed Day Three with our Anna Dress Peach Jungle Book. Every print is distinctive and unique! We often hear how children outgrow their CNY clothing too quickly so this collection was designed especially to bring longevity to your CNY outfits. We hope that long after the 15 days of CNY, your children will still be wanting to wear their favourite elly outfits.

This CNY2021, elly is proud to present One World, One Family.

Launching online at 1st January 2021, 9 p.m..

x, Audrey

CNY 2021 Launch 

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