Why "Sir Mittens"?
The logo of our online store had to show - how could it be otherwise - a cute cat. But where do his elegant outfit and the name "Sir Mittens" come from?
The short answer is: from a designer! But that's just the result of a somewhat more complex backstory, made up of several pieces of the puzzle.
Puzzle Part 1: Beatrix Potter
With Lotta, we have to go back to her early childhood. For her fourth birthday, she was given The Great Beatrix Potter Storybook. The book with the loving illustrations of (humanized) rabbits, mice and cats was quickly to become her favorite book for bedtime stories.
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was an English children's author and illustrator. Her most famous work is The story of Peter Hase. In one of their stories The Tale of Tom Kitten the mother cat Tabitha Twitchit has three naughty children: Tom Kitten, Moppet and Mittens. Mittens was born in September 1907, so to speak, when the book was published.
Puzzle Part 2: Our Studies
A small leap in time: Lotta and I both studied English. That's how we met nine years ago. In addition to linguistics, English literature is a part of the English studies program. Because of Lotta's early interest in English literature (although initially in German, of course), her choice of study is perhaps less surprising.
For me, it started a little later with English poetry - in the form of music. At first, of course, I didn't understand anything, but I babbled along anyway. English was always my favorite subject, and I generally enjoyed languages from an early age. After graduating from high school, I spent a year as an au pair in California, which brought me even closer to American literature.
Puzzle Part 3: The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties
In my studies, I learned an incredible amount about our world through the burning glass of literature and literary history. I was particularly fascinated by The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Since the modern film adaptation (2013) by Baz Luhrmann, everyone should know the story, and both the book and the movie made a lasting impression on me - so much so that I even wrote my master's thesis on The Great Gatsby. It was specifically about the ambivalent portrayal of the role of women in the historical context of the 1910s and 1920s. Those were particularly exciting years for women's rights activists.
But before I lull you to sleep with this, Sir Mittens a.k.a. The Great Catsby is clearly inspired by the literary figure Jay Gatsby. Much like Gatsby, Sir Mittens believes you can accomplish anything with a fancy demeanor. We sometimes have to put the brakes on him. He takes great pride in his appearance.
Fun Fact: In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald took the dark side of the wasteful "Roaring Twenties" in America's big cities to extremes.
The tattered copy that I used for my master's thesis. I can practically recite The Great Gatsby by heart.
However, not much seems to have stuck of the darker sides. Today, we romanticize the Roaring Twenties a lot. The film version of 2013 has certainly contributed to this.
Of course, we were not left untouched by it either. So we have incorporated the motif of the Golden Twenties in our online store: on the one hand the font, on the other hand Sir Mittens wears mustache, tuxedo, bow tie, monocle and top hat. But also from an artistic perspective, we are great friends of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods with their decorative, mostly floral patterns.
The dynamic, orgiastic lifestyle that has taken hold in Western metropolitan society fits so well with our online store, not least because we also party excessively. Just kidding.
We love all artistic expressions that celebrate cats for the wonderful creatures they are. We can't do that without a certain attention to detail (and cats), nor can we do it without a high qualitative level. Our modern view of the 1920s is a good projection screen for this.
The economic boom brought many cultural, artistic and technological innovations. All changes were characterized by a break with tradition. We are also in favor of innovation and change, but only with a forward-looking view of the future. As it is well-known, this did not happen at that time and ended very unpleasantly in 1929. That's why sustainability is not just a buzzword for us. We mean it. I'll explain how serious we mean it in another blog post.
Puzzle Part 4: Cat Content!
Finally, some lighter fare - the last piece of the puzzle is called CAT CONTENT. We all know and love it, and thankfully it will haunt us forever. Of course, we always know 99.8% of all existing cat content - lifelong learning included, because there is new content every day. If you want to make us laugh with new memes that we don't already know, you must be really good.
Anyway, one of my favorite memes is the following - and lo and behold, Sir Mittens is speaking.
This meme so beautifully illustrates how we think cats see themselves: as privileged, lazy creatures.
I hope this little backstory sheds some light on how ... all of this came about.