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What has a red bow, no mouth, and the best hardcore admirers around?
It’s Hello Kitty, of course. And for four canicule this fall, Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo breadth was beat with 25,000 of the icon’s best adherent admirers.
When I aboriginal heard that the assemblage would about be in my backyard from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, I knew I had to be there. As a constant Hello Kitty fan, I can still bethink the action of walking into a Sanrio abundance and attractive at all the new pencil boxes, backpacks, notebooks, and added emblazoned with the world’s cutest cat, aggravating to adjudge what pen to aces out and appropriation up every abruptness bag in the bassinet to see which advised the most, and appropriately had the bigger items (ah, the argumentation of a child). Although I would briefly coquette with Bad Badtz-Maru and Keroppi, Hello Kitty consistently had my affection and was consistently on my cafeteria box.
It could be due to addicted adolescence memories — or the actuality that she’s the alone cat that will never blemish me — but seeing Hello Kitty consistently helps addition my mood. I heard from several bodies I batten with at the assemblage that Hello Kitty represents positivity, and that’s universally appealing. I’m abiding that’s additionally allotment of the acumen why today, 40 years afterwards authoritative her aboriginal actualization on a vinyl bread purse in Japan, she’s still accepted about the apple and pulls in added than $5 billion a year. You don’t accomplish that affectionate of money unless you’ve hit a assumption — the cuteness nerve, I suspect.
Spending two canicule at the assemblage — already during a media examination and afresh on Halloween — was an cutting experience. I’m talking complete acoustic overload. There wasn’t a aboveboard inch of the Geffen Abreast at the Building of Abreast Art that wasn’t covered with Hello Kitty; there were aglow statues of Hello Kitty at all of the buzz charging stations, and Hello Kitty wrapping cardboard accoutrement the ATMs. Alike the bathrooms weren’t spared, as the toilet cardboard featured images of Hello Kitty and friends.
It was like dying and activity to Hello Kitty heaven.
On one ancillary of the museum, there were behemothic 3D displays for attendees to use as photo backdrops, as able-bodied as the Friendship Station pop-up boutique that awash absolute Hello Kitty Con commodity — blimp animals, pins, posters, magnets, alike robots. The Best Village displayed key pieces of Hello Kitty items from throughout the years, including the aboriginal anytime Hello Kitty bread purse, the account that catapulted her to distinction (and was ensconced in a canteen case, with a bouncer abutting to it).
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The Hello Kitty Assemblage took several years to plan and execute. David Marchi, chief administrator of cast administration and business at Sanrio, told me it was article the aggregation capital to do for a continued time, and the 40th ceremony of Hello Kitty gave them the befalling to assuredly accomplish it happen. “This was a activity of love,” he said. “It’s so agitative for it to assuredly be here, and it’s absolute emotional.”
Marchi’s admired allotment of the assemblage was the bread purse, which was in the United States for the aboriginal time. “We’re alleviative it like the acme jewels,” he said. He additionally was attractive advanced to seeing the acknowledgment of admirers in the best areas, breadth they would “look and say, ‘I bethink that,'” he said. “It’s a way to get in blow with your childhood.”
Marchi knew for abiding that there were admirers from beyond the United States in attendance, as able-bodied as Tokyo, China, the Philippines, and added genitalia of Asia. “This is a continued time coming, and we apperceive the admirers accept capital it,” he said. “We achievement this is the aboriginal of many.”
Me too! But in the meantime, actuality are a few things I abstruse about everyone’s admired artful and the bodies who adulation her.
1. Superfans anticipate Hello Kitty tattoos are like abiding Hello Kitty stickers
One of the best coveted items at the Hello Kitty Assemblage wasn’t a affiche or a tote bag, but rather an actual, abiding tattoo. A bend of the assemblage was adapted into HK Ink, a boom parlor, with four artists giving advantageous admirers their best of a chargeless appropriate design, created for the accident by Mario Desa.
“Hello Kitty is an figure and timeless, and it formed to amalgamate that with acceptable designs,” Desa said. “Everybody actuality is aflame and blessed to be here, and they actually feel added advantageous to be able to get a tattoo.”
Jazmine Vick, 22, flew from Boston to appear the Hello Kitty Convention, and knew she had to get in band aboriginal to get a boom as they were aboriginal come, aboriginal served.
“I was prepared,” she said. “I got up at 3:30, and was actuality by 5:30. I wore sneakers because I capital to be the aboriginal in line.”
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Vick chose the boom architecture breadth two scoops of Hello Kitty ice chrism cook into a cone. “Hello Kitty warms my heart, so I anticipate it’s beautiful she’s ice chrism and she’s melting,” she said. This wasn’t Vick’s aboriginal — or second, or third — Hello Kitty tattoo, and she sees them as “permanent stickers.”
“Hello Kitty is aloof an attraction of mine,” Vick said. “I had to appear out actuality and appropriate the opportunity.”
2. Hello Kitty admirers actually like to dress up
Hello Kitty cast to dress up, and so do her fans. I accurately chose to go on Halloween because I ample added bodies would dress up, and they didn’t disappoint. A appearance accession alleged Lovely Kitty Wonder, curated by Stephiee Nguyen of JapanLA, was additionally on display, featuring one-of-a-kind pieces aggressive by Hello Kitty (think structured corsets, Hello Kitty as a bogie dresses, and platforms with bows).
3. Hello Kitty admirers will buy actually annihilation with her face on it
The best awash allotment of the assemblage was the Super Supermarket, breadth alfresco vendors like Sephora, Beats by Dre (which awash out by apex Friday), Dylan’s Candy Bar, Loungefly, Spam, and added set up boutique and awash their Hello Kitty wares. It was not for the claustrophobic, with continued curve and lookie-loos avaricious up the chargeless balloons and toy abstracts actuality anesthetized out.
There was a lot of bling — including a $450 bound copy bedazzled Hello Kitty with architecture brushes inside, address of Sephora — and hardly camp offerings, like a Hello Kitty Spam kit. You could buy 3D printed figurines, custom fabricated T-shirts, anthology kits, golf sets, hoodies with Hello Kitty aerial — basically annihilation your affection desired.
Most bodies were lugging about at atomic one abundant bag, and a majority of the items actuality peddled seemed to be geared appear adults. But one booth, Cartwheel Kids, had ambrosial aprons and brooms that would accomplish any adolescent appetite to apple-pie the house. “Everything is affairs well,” the booth’s Chris McAndrew said. “We’ve awash out of tea sets, and the brooms were gone Thursday by four.”
Business was up acknowledgment to the sea of bodies awash into the space. “It started out 15 degrees acknowledgment in here,” McAndrew said, “and again anybody whooshed in.”
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4. Hello Kitty has an astonishingly abundant history
Hello Kitty Assemblage attendees were additionally accepted chargeless acceptance to an affectation abutting aperture at the Japanese American Natural Building advantaged Hello! Exploring the Supercute Apple of Hello Kitty (on appearance through April 26, 2015). A first-of-its-kind retrospective, visitors could see attenuate and best pieces from the athenaeum as able-bodied as 40 mixed-media works by abreast artists.
It was fun to go through the affectation and see things I accustomed from childhood, from pencil boxes to backpacks. It was actually absurd to see items from every year on display, with fun facts about Hello Kitty corrective on the walls (for instance, did you apperceive she weighs “three apples” and is “five apples” tall?).
The affectation took up a huge bulk of amplitude on two floors, and we absolved from arcade to arcade by afterward hot blush and red bows on the floor. There were couture Hello Kitty dresses and adornment beat by celebrities, and a apparel fabricated absolutely of blimp animals sewn together. I admired the art pieces, abnormally a account of Abraham Lincoln with Hello Kitty on his hat in a hot blush frame. I could absolutely see it blind in the White House, about 1863.
It was surreal to ability the end of the exhibit, breadth a behemothic Hello Kitty bewilderment rose from the ground, and access the absolute building and see replicas of interments camps. This was an brusque and sobering end to the journey, but several bodies chock-full to attending about and started allurement the bout guides questions, creating an ad-lib teaching opportunity. Anybody gave this breadth the account it deserved, article that I was absolute blessed to see.
5. Hello Kitty is with you until the day you die
Inside the exhibit, there was a simple canteen case that, already I peered inside, was absolutely unnerving: If you are of a assertive age, Hello Kitty could be present at your birth, your death, and all of the milestones in between.
Inside of the affectation there were little shoes, a bottle, a costly doll, and a cap blame youth, appropriate abutting to a albino glass, a canteen of Hello Kitty bubbly, and Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel (her boyfriend) bells block topper. On the added side, I saw a Hello Kitty abundance test, brownish cane, and bean bronze for your grave (which, let’s face it, will apparently be aloft your Hello Kitty coffin). It was the complete activity aeon of a Hello Kitty fan.
I’m not abiding why this weirded me out so abundant — maybe it’s because it looked like a activity sponsored by a company, except you’re advantageous them for the advantage of antic their babyish hats and application their canes to angle up straight. Or, it’s because I don’t like to anticipate about afterlife and dying anyway, and seeing a Hello Kitty cairn does not adjure up any acceptable feelings. This was all too abundant for me, and I bound confused along, but not afore I heard the woman abaft me who was accustomed her baby baby acquaint her husband, “Oh look, they accept Hello Kitty braces! Let’s get these for Skyler aback she’s older!”
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By the time I was done at the museum, I acquainted like I was in the eye of the Hello Kitty storm and bare to arch to safety. I was seeing red bows on everything, and was accessible to go aback to the absolute world. That’s not to say I didn’t accept fun; I got a bang out of actuality amidst by added bodies who admired Hello Kitty, and alike admitting I was too arid (not to acknowledgment terrified) to get a boom or abrasion a dress fabricated out of blimp animals, I acquainted aloof as acceptable as all of the bodies cutting cat ears. I additionally larboard with a new acknowledgment for Sanrio, a aggregation that I ahead never acquainted any adapter to. My absolute life, I’ve alleged any Sanrio abundance I’ve apparent “The Hello Kitty Store,” proving that I alone cared about the artefact and not the brand. The bulk of detail that was present, both at the assemblage and in the museum, was tremendous, and Sanrio did it because of the admirers who would apprehension and abundance those little things.
The adorableness of the assemblage was not alone seeing so abounding bodies aflame about the aforementioned thing, but additionally alive that it’s OK to accumulate a tiny allotment of your adolescence with you as an adult. Hello Kitty actually isn’t aloof for little kids anymore, and Sanrio has to be accomplishing article appropriate to accumulate bodies as admirers for decades. I ability not backpack about a Hello Kitty cafeteria box anymore, or booty addendum with a Hello Kitty pen (ha, aloof kidding, I absolutely do), but that candied white cat will always be my favorite.
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