Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hello Kitty Bow

How do you solve the problem of limitation on cute?

Sanrio is taking on the challenge by using simplicity in a form of a bow. Say hello to Sanrio's next campaign: Hello Kitty Men or specifically HK Men.

Cute can get you so far until you hit a road block. Like most successful corporations, they are on the lookout to searching to expand to new territories. Take for example with Sanrio's HK Men line campaign. Instead of using Hello Kitty's face with the eyes and nose, they're using their signature bow to associate with Hello Kitty. If you can't use Hello Kitty's facial image then doesn't it mean that kawaii has it's limitations?

By Sanrio selling only these Bow products without Hello Kitty's face just represents that Sanrio can't overcome the problem of cute-- that cute can have a limiting effect on its surrounding. It's something that life with cute can't solve everything, especially in fashion and style. Surrounding yourself with cute can't help you escape the responsibilities that come with life. If Sanrio can incorporate life with Cute in a cool factor, then they can meet their goal: expanding to new territories. 

An example would be in a professional setting: is it appropriate to wear Sanrio in a court room? By wearing cute, can you be taken seriously?

The Hello Kitty Men x Casper John relies on the bow design to attract the Men in the world. Didn't Sanrio go the safe route and isn't that like admitting defeat? So in wearing only a bow design, does it save you face from wearing an actual HELLO KITTY facial product? Does it say that you're ashamed of the character's image? Is Hello Kitty's bow their only solution to the problem of Cute? Is that their final answer?

So far-- not impressive.

Hello Kitty...For Men! But Can Sanrio's New Fashion Line Overcome The Pussy Factor?

by Jake Adelstein

Just in time for Japan’s unique version of Valentine’s Day, Sanrio, the makers of cute characters such as My Melody and Cinnamoroll,  launched a line of men’s clothing based on their most well-known character: Hello Kitty. Yes, Hello Kitty Men—or HK Men–if you thought you heard incorrectly. Sanrio’s latest ambitious project is to convince men that Hello Kitty isn’t just for girls. They can also enjoy the lovable, mouthless mascot without compromising their masculinity.

However the “fiendish” side of the marketing ploy comes from the fact that on Valentine’s Day in Japan, women buy gifts for men, not the other way around. So women wanting to make their boyfriends ‘cuter’, might buy the clothing and give it to their man, who will be forced to wear it–or face a pounding from the iron fist in the velvet glove–the seemingly demure Japanese woman.
The project kicked off last year with an announcement and “a letter”  from Hello Kitty herself who wrote “Until now I’ve been loved by many girls. But I’ve always thought this: It would be nice to be next to guys too, not just girls.”
Their marketing poster was a black and white photograph of a chiseled male model whose face was obscured by Hello Kitty’s signature red bow.
Sanrio promoted their new line last September with a weeklong exhibition in Hankyu Men’s Department Store in Tokyo of Hello Kitty-inspired men’s t-shirts. Sanrio insiders say their goal is to make Hello Kitty, possibly under the moniker HK,  a name that man feel comfortable with and expand their customer base. After all, half the world are men. “This is why they’ve partnered with Casper John and some other well known men’s fashion designers in Japan,” said one of the Sanrio collaborators.

This month, Sanrio launched the long-awaited Hello Kitty’s men line—just in time for Valentine’s Day. The limited edition clothing, shoes, and business card cases will be on sale into March and may possibly be extended into the future. Unlike in the United States where men present their significant others with flowers and chocolate, gender roles in Japan during that day are reversed, with women presenting their boyfriends or crushes with homemade chocolates. The custom dates back to the late 1950s when Japanese chocolatier, Mary Chocolate, started a campaign in Shinjuku’s Isetan Department store encouraging women to give men they fancy chocolates for Valentine’s Day. The reason why female consumers were targeted in the campaign was because the majority of shoppers in department stores were women.
In 1978 the National Confectionary Industry Association started “White Day,” an answer to Valentine’s Day on the grounds that men needed to return the favor to women—of course, it also gave a boost in sales to confectionary companies.
The line consists of three items sold in Lumine Man Shibuya in three different stores: dark blue opera shoes, a white hoodie, and a denim jacket. Just two days after the February 2nd release date of the clothing line, the existing stock of the hoodies and jackets have already sold out.

“All twenty have sold out,” said a shopkeeper at Casper John, a male clothing store selling the white Hello-kitty themed hoodies. “Both men and women are purchasing the hoodie, sometimes couples buy it so they can match.”
Unlucky shoppers will have to fill out an order form and wait a few days before the next shipment of clothing comes in. The shoes, which cost 28, 000 yen, and are embroidered with a blue version of the bow Hello Kitty sports, however, are first come first serve. The store that sells them, Unline by Alfredo Bannister, only made 20 pairs in total—3 pairs for each shoe size.

“We don’t plan to make anymore so these are quite rare,” said a shopkeeper there. This writer (me) tried on a pair of the shoes in size 28—they fit amazingly well and somewhere deep inside me, there is a metrosexual voice, saying “They’re a limited edition! Only 3 pairs in the world. You should buy them…” But yet…
The clothes and shoes are not too “girly” but will the pussy factor—the unbearable cuteness of items emblazoned with reminders of sweet little kittens–make or break it in the rough and tumble world of men’s fashion? The brand took off during Valentine’s season in Japan, thanks to the peculiar Valentine’s culture and the Japanese love for limited editions. But will men outside of Japan wear such cutesy stuff?
In the weeks after Valentine’s Day, even in Japan, Hello Kitty Men may end up Hello Kitty Meh. Meow?
Angela Erika Kubo contributed to this report. 

Source: Forbes

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hello Kitty Go Around Figurines

If you've heard about Hello Kitty Con, then you must have heard about China's Hello Kitty Go Around carnival event.

Well, naturally if you are a serious Hello Kitty collector-- then you all know all sorts of tidbits that a casual Sanrio consumer wouldn't know...

Pic Provided by IG

"They are made from Polyurethane or PU and will break if it falls ! Only 200 each design were made exclusively for hello kitty go around event , it is NOT numbered"
- HelloKittyTreasure

In every collection, you will find that there are special collectibles that you know -- and, I emphasize -- you *know* what makes your collection stand out. These two figurines are those special treasures that you can't resist from clutching in sheer joy.

Yes, I was that lucky lil' collector who got to own these special pair of figurines. Take a moment while I describe my story as I opened my precious package:

(Warning: excuse my slight exaggeration)
With heavy breathing from excitement, my trembling hands cut away the strips of many tape surrounding the package. It was like a slasher movie. My excitement over finally getting my hands on these babies were driving me crazy because the box seemed difficult to open. You definitely get your money's worth because HelloKittyTreasure packed it very securely. Thank you, Mai! Even with a sharp weapon in my hands (TIP: everyone who is a relative/friend of a Sanrio collector, avoid us when we're opening a Sanrio package), I gave up trying to be reasonable with the box. My patience had run out. With so much energy coming out of nowhere, I teared into that tightly wrapped package. I was panting by the time I had ripped open the box.

My brother came into the room and found me on my knees clutching the two figurines in each arm. I had been spazzing out of sheer joy for the last minute or two. Prior to that, I had been dancing the geeky-joyful-dance. Don't ask. It's embarrassing enough to admit it on this blog.

These two figurines are now stacked on top of piles of messy Sanrio stuff on my desk. They're all waiting for me to get to them and pack them away in my temporary Sanrio storage room. 

Plugin: If you want one of your own, contact HelloKittyTreasure on her Instagram. While supplies last. DM for the price.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happiness = Cute

Happiness is what motivates us to feel alive and creates a satisfied feeling of strong joyful emotions.

What does being "Happy" mean to you?

For many different people, it can mean a lot of things like vanity, wealth of money, the love and warmth of family and friends, social status/reputation, or materialistic needs. Or it can be a bit of everything like in my case. The reason is because I haven't achieved all of my dreams. In rare cases for those who've achieved all their goals, they move on to search for another reason to be happy.

Case in point...


Maybe it's our escape from reality. Maybe our obsession with kawaii is a form of therapy from dealing with the harsh realities that we face on a daily basis. Maybe it's our coping mechanism that comes into play here.

Are you like me searching for happiness? What does happiness represent to you? Does happiness mean surrounding oneself with so much cuteness? Is this where obsession begins? Where does it end-- or the better question is: does it need to end?

I've said it before and I've heard others say it as well, I take comfort in staring at my Sanrio collection. Is that what I have been collecting these few years all about? Just comfort and pride? Does it help with the state of happiness to own an Instagram account to show off all these coveted collection? Seriously, if you take away your bragging rights-- what would happen to your obsession? Will it wither away like a leaf on a tree? Does it take the fun out of everything?

I do admit that showing off my collection is another reason that my obsession lingers...

I feel happy and proud that I have achieved a good amount of collection to be called a collector. I have achieved full status as a collector. It's something to define myself in this world out of many different types of achievers.

It might not be as great as achieving the Pulitzer award, but it's something different from the norm.

Is it Genuine?
I keep thinking that my Sanrio obsession might not last forever once I am done with my Sanrio projects (don't ask; my plans are all over the place ;p  ). In my case, I think I will love Sanrio until I am gray and old. I might stop collecting in short periods of time, but I have a strong feeling that I will always fall back in love with these adorable Sanrio characters over and over.

You really can't escape from them. With Sanrio's endgame, who could?