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Hello Kitty Isn't Just for Little Girls, Big Girls Love Her Too
Hangin' With My Girl Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty Is The Most Fun Collectible Ever!
"Don't you think it's about time you gave up Hello Kitty?" a former friend once asked me. My answer then was "No" and it's still "No". Why would I ever give up one of my favorite collectibles? To even suggest that to someone as in love with Hello Kitty (H.K.) as I am is the height of insensitivity and probably one of the reasons that person isn't in my life anymore. But she's still with me and always will be.
Stars Who Love Hello Kitty:
I don't remember when my obsession with her began but I do know I'm not the only "big girl" whose passion for her has impacted my life. Some "big boys", like the late Kurt Cobain lead singer for "Nirvana: was also into her big time. When he toured Japan with his band the fans found out how much he dug her and rewarded him with Hello Kitty gifts. Singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb, Tyra Banks and Mariah Carey are reported fans as well.
Kimora Lee Simmons has collaborated with Sanrio, Inc., (H.K.'s parent company) recently and designed a diamond pendant, ring and stud earring set for $295 a piece and jewelry/accessories designer Tarina Tarantino has amassed a huge collection of Hello Kitty memorabilia that perfectly compliments her "funky" personal style.
"A woman who wears Hello Kitty is not afraid of what people think," she said in Jill Gertson's "L.A. Times" article "Feeding the Kitty".
Hello Kitty Has Always Been A Trend Setter:
So in this time of retro versus individualism Hello Kitty can be seen as a positive icon who allows the wearer to lighten up and not take themselves so seriously. Introduced in 1974 by Sanrio, Inc. she made her U.S. debut in 1976. Initially she was created to "adorn notepads, coin purses and other . accessories" for little girls but eventually she became the company's most popular character and their "corporate symbol". Sanrio, Inc. was originally founded by Shintaro Tsuji in 1960 and has been described on their official website in 2002 as "a world-wide distributor of character-branded stationery, school supplies, gifts and accessories." Despite the introduction of Badtzu Miru, Pochaco and Keroppi Frog, Hello Kitty remains their "star".
Versatile and undeniably cute, like Barbie, she's also a chameleon and jack of all trades. In the book, "Hello Kitty Everywhere" with Haiku by Kate J. Williamson and full-color photos by Jennifer Butefish and Maria Fernanda Soares she's portrayed as a Renaissance feline whose adventures take her from Paris with her pink poodle to a ballet class and other places. Donning a plethora of costumes she demonstrates a talent for disguise that makes you believe she could really be a green crocodile, colorful toucan and blue circus elephant if she weren't Hello Kitty.
The "supercute" pink, brown and white biscuit bear collection currently on the Sanrio website was designed to disguise her again, this time as a biscuit bear. Besides a cushion and pen/pencil pouch, you can also buy a tote bag, flip watch and spiral notebook from this line for under $200. I personally think this is one of Sanrio's best designs because the colors and graphics appeal to girls of all ages.
My Hello Kitty Collection:
Every collector has their own reasons for acquiring Hello Kitty memorabilia whether it's to liven up classic office gear with kitschy purses and jewelry or their living space with pastel bedding and a pink television. My collection encompasses practically every area of my life because I like having a piece of Hello Kitty magic around me at all times. Next to my faithful teddy bear, "Honeybunny", who accompanies me to my chemo treatments, hospital stays and for scary medical procedures associated with breast cancer, an ulcer, lupus and high-blood pressure, she's the one who makes me feel safe and secure.
So wherever I go I carry Hello Kitty notepads, use Hello Kitty pencils and drink out of a Hello Kitty water bottle. My bankcard is pink and white with her face on the front and my checks and check book are also H.K.. I used to tell people when they asked me "Who' my favorite designer?" that "It's Hello Kitty". Throughout my years of devotion I've realized that not only does she inspire me as much as a traditional, real live, designer she is one of my main "comfort things" too.
Celebrating Hello Kitty at Royal T Art Gallery:
When I went to "Royal T Art Gallery's" exhibit in 2009, "Three Apples An Exhibition Celebrating 35 Years of Hello Kitty" I witnessed first-hand how many fans she really has. While crossing the street to get to the overpacked show I started talking to a girl, who was carrying a Tokidoki bag, about H.K..
"Do you like Hello Kitty?," I asked her. "I love her. I grew up with her," she said.
To commemorate her various artists rendered her on canvas, in black velvet, as the Mona Lisa and in a series of miniature paintings in black and pink frames. Yoskay Yamamoto even did a sculpture of Hello Kitty taking off a red dress called "Hellooo Kitty". As amazing as this artwork was the installation that stood out most for me, because it's the room of my dreams, was the "Hello Kitty Apartment Installation". Cleverly arranged, it had a shelf of plush dolls, a twin bed covered with a Hello Kitty bedspread, a rack of H.K. clothes and a mind-boggling array of merch that still makes my mouth water.
I'm not sure where my adoration for all things Hello Kitty will lead me next but I am sure it'll be somewhere fun and I can't wait to go.