Fast approaching her fortieth birthday, Hello Kitty has blossomed into a bona fide pop culture phenomenon with her paw in many a pie. Once the preserve of six year old girls and Gothic Lolitas, the merchandising mogul set her sights on conquering a slightly broader category: grown-ups. And thanks to strategic brand collaborations, she succeeded, overcoming gender and age barriers to make her the most recognizable cat in the world. Below, I’ve picked the top ten Hello Kitty collaborations for girls and guys.
Hello Kitty for Him
With male-orientated Hello Kitty collaborations ranging from the niche to the gory, you’ll be sure to find something for even the most testosterone-fuelled man.
5) Mad Barbarians x Hello Kitty
Everyone looks better as a zombie, even Hello Kitty! You may already hold her responsible for destroying the brains of otherwise rational women, but now you have definitive proof thanks to this Hello Kitty x Mad Barbarians mash-up, which sees Hello Kitty dressed in a variety of zombie guises. If you’re feeling particularly evil, buy a batch of these vinyls and swap them with your little sister’s regular Hello Kitty dolls. Bazinga!
4) Kiss x Hello Kitty
Given that Gene Simmons is the only person on the planet peddling more merchandise than Hello Kitty herself (Kiss casket anyone?), the only wonder is that this collaboration didn’t happen years ago. Available for purchase are t-shirts, toys, mugs and more, all featuring the canny cat trussed up as Gene and co. No urinal cakes though.
3) Evangelion x Hello Kitty
You may not think it, but wearing Hello Kitty can up your street cred. That is, if you’re wearing Hello Kitty x Evangelion and the street in question is located in Tokyo. That’s because Evangelion is one of the most famous animes of all time and, of course, huge in Japan. So hook this keyring of Hello Kitty cosplaying as Rei Ayanami to your bag and mosey on down to the anime section of your local comic book store for instant glory.
2) Gloomy Bear x Hello Kitty
Most people find Hello Kitty about as offensive as, well, a kitten, but then most people haven’t seen Hello Kitty dressed up as her Japanese Gloomy Bear, the naughty grizzly with homicidal tendencies. With promotional artwork depicting Hello Kitty covered in blood and wearing Gloomy’s hide a la Hannibal Lector, parents got all kinds of shouty. The actual plush toy is clearly just cosplaying (it even features a zip on the back complete with a ketchup bottle zip pull to reassure fans she’s not covered in real blood) but thanks to the controversy these plushies are pretty rare now so keep an eye out for one on eBay.
1) Street Fighter x Hello Kitty
The coolest collaboration ever saw two Japanese pop culture behemoths, Capcom and Sanrio, combine forces to pay homage to the granddaddy of video games: Street Fighter. This collection debuted at San Diego Comic Con earlier this year and sold out on the first day. Luckily, WeLoveFine still have some t-shirts left in stock. The only question that remains is who will win: Chun Kitty or Batz Ryu?
Hello Kitty for Her
Hello Kitty for girls is nothing new but step away from the two-dollar tat and take a look at these classy collaborations, which should sway even the most discerning customer.
5) Sephora x Hello Kitty
Cosmetic kingdom Sephora knows a gap in the market when it sees one, in this case a Hello Kitty make up line for adults. The products come with a price tag to match but with packaging this kawaii, who can resist? Indulge your inner child with this Hello Kitty brush set. Although this mirrored Hello Kitty may look like a toy, remove her head to reveal a set of gorgeous pink-tinted brushes.
4) Swarovski x Hello Kitty
This Swarovski pendant seems pretty bling until you compare it to this giant Swarovski-encrusted Hello Kitty I snapped at a Sanrio store in Tokyo. But the necklace version is way cuter, with Hello Kitty’s bat print dress clearly taking inspiration from Jack Skellington (now there’s one collaboration we would really love to see). Perfect for a Hello Kitty Halloween!
3) Forever 21 x Hello Kitty
With its low price points Forever21 is primarily aimed at teen girls but its recent Sanrio collection is all woman! If a Batz Maru tie or Hello Kitty print shorts are too showy for you, try this subtle Hello Kitty inspired jumper, which features chic stripes and a cute bow. The range also includes bedding and sleepwear, ensuring your Hello Kitty-ed out from bed to toe.
2) Vans x Hello Kitty
The laid back California brand beloved of skaters isn’t the most obvious partner for Hello Kitty but the first collaboration, in 2010, did so well they came back for round two. These classic Vans feature Hello Kitty on her bike and are perfect for casual wear, but they also do an all-pink version for the braver among you.
1) Tokidoki x Hello Kitty
With its Japanese-inspired vibe (‘tokidoki’ means ‘sometimes’ in Japanese) and stable of kawaii characters, Hello Kitty was always going to be in safe hands with Tokidoki founder Simone Legno. The second collaboration between the two brands features this adorable Hello Kitty who, in time honoured Hello Kitty tradition, is cosplaying, in this instance as a big cat (a leopard to be precise). Which is fitting, given that she’s pretty much the biggest cat in the world.