If there's one celebrity who'll never age or go out of style, it's Hello Kitty. There's something about the mouthless feline that makes even grown women with mortgages and life insurance squeal with tween-like giddiness. What's her secret? She'll never tell. No mouth, remember?
Her latest fashion foray: a sweet collaboration with Forever 21. On Nov. 16, the cheap-chic chain will launch Hello Kitty Forever, a limited-edition collection of clothing, accessories and home goods featuring the famous cat and her Sanrio pals. The pieces—each selling for less than $30!—are a little quirky and oh-so cute. I'm pretty sure I'll be needing a Chococat beanie and a Bad Badtz-Maru "Pow!" sweater in my near future.
Designing the jewelry is Los Angeles-based Onch Movement, famed for making bold, punchy food-inspired accessories. (Remember Nicki Minaj's pink fried-chicken necklace? That's an Onch classic). I caught up with the colorful designer to see what he has in store.
How did you team up with Sanrio?
I first started working with Sanrio when it invited me to be part of the Hello Kitty Three Apples 35th Anniversary art show. I designed a custom Hello Kitty necklace for that. After that, we were just waiting for the perfect opportunity to do something bigger, and when the Forever 21 project came along, everyone agreed it would be a perfect match.
Have you always been a Hello Kitty fan?
I have been a fan of Hello Kitty ever since I can remember. I was surrounded by Sanrio products growing up—I can remember lining up for hours at McDonald's to get the Sanrio Happy Meal toys as a kid. I love Hello Kitty, Bad Badtz-Maru, Monkichi, Keroppi and Pochacco. It's very surreal to be working with them.
How would you describe your Hello Kitty Forever jewelry collection?
It's so fun and timeless. I was inspired by Pop Art and fashion in the '60s. It's very Hello Kitty, but at the same time, it has a lot of Onch Movement magic—for instance, there's a tiny pretzel charm on each necklace. I created a black-and-white Hello Kitty enamel necklace that I adore. It's very classic and wearable. But my favorite piece is the Onch Movement Hello Kitty character pretzel necklace. It's outrageous!
Why do you think people are so obsessed with Hello Kitty?
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Hello Kitty is the most famous celebrity in the world, that's why! But in all seriousness, Sanrio is so brilliant at reinventing the brand and teaming up with new exciting artists and collaborators, making Hello Kitty always hip and trendy.
This column appeared in print as "Forever Kitty."