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

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