The perfect Spanish gift – Kukuxumusu, cartoon cool
Whether you're planning your Chrismas shopping or just looking for the perfect Spanish gift for friends abroad, Zach Frohlich has a suggestion.
Around the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, I'm always asked about it by visitors and exchange students. I'm starting a new series of posts on Spanish products that make great gifts, and that aren't the usualcheesy fare that one finds at all those tacky tourist stands.
For my first suggestion, I think the cat's out of the bag. Kukuxumusu (pronounced like 'cuckoo-chew-moo-sue') is hardly a secret, and has become a must-buy for guiris passing through Spain because the brand provides a hip, edgy take on not only Spanish culture, but increasingly global cultural trends.
The name for the shop/brand comes from the Basque ('Euskera') for 'kiss of the flea' (kuku xu musu). The company began in 1989 in Pamplona, when a group of friends came up with the idea of selling paraphernalia (especially T-shirts) with cartoonish spoofs of the typical July fiestas of San Fermín, playing with imagery of the (in)famous running of the bulls. In 1996 Kukuxumusu opened its first shop and quickly spread to other major cities in Spain, and even most small towns that are common tourist destinations.
Today Kukuxumusu is both a brand image and paraphernalia shop, its creators describing it as a 'fábrica de dibujos' (factory of cartoons). Increasingly you can see its cartoons throughout Spain being incorporated into government public campaigns, local businesses and cultural movements.
The company's classic theme: Fiestas de San Fermín. / A surfing twist on the San Fermín theme.
|The company has branched out to
a broader Spanish tourism
|Including Valencia's Fallas.|
|Not so innocent humour|
|Cute turned tough|
Reprinted with permission of Not Hemingway's Spain.
Originally from Austin, Texas, Zach Frohlich has been traveling between Spain and the U.S. for over a decade, and has been living in Valencia for the last few years. He is a historian by training and is married to a Spaniard. He shares cultural insights on Spain at Not Hemingway's Spain. Published 2012; updated 2015.
Photo credits: © Kukuxumusu.
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