Hello Kitty + Blythe Dolls = Creation of Cute Collaboration?

As I have mentioned previously I believe the Hello Kitty and Blythe Doll brands do evoke some of the same views and opinions, and are reflected culturally through Kawaii. As my research develops I will talk more about this subject and why I think they share similarities; in particular the aesthetic characteristics like their large heads fits into the images used in Manga and Anime drawings.

As we know Hello Kitty is predominantly portrayed as very sweet innocent character, as are most Blythe dolls. Although both Hello Kitty and Blythe dolls can be dressed up to show different emotions I would say innocence is important to both brands. Manga characters typically have large eyes, which helps to portray their emotions; the characteristic style of Anime/Manga was developed in the 1960’s by Osamu Tezuka. It would be interesting to find out if the original designers behind Blythe dolls had been influenced in some way by Anime styles when they designed the dolls in the 1970’s.  I would say in the case of Blythe dolls the large eyes are reflecting Bambi-esq qualities of innocence and cuteness, although as we know the dolls eyes were the reason for the dolls going out of production. The large heads and eyes of the dolls apparently scared children.

The comparisons between Blythe dolls and the Japanese Street fashions observed in the Harajuku district of Tokyo are very similar, and I wonder whether Blythe has become a poster girl for the many of the street styles.

As my research develops I am sure I will be able to comment further on the views I have expressed above.

Sanrio, Hello Kitty’s creators are very careful to look after the Hello Kitty brand (although there are many fake unlicensed products). Any collaboration is carefully chosen and usually the other brand will reflect the same brand values as them or be of the same high standard/fame. Over time I will publish more details on collaborations such as MAC, Paul Frank, Vans, Johnny Cupcakes, Asics, Judith Leiber and other companies. Below are the pictures and details of the collaboration between Hello Kitty and Blythe Dolls

For Hello Kitty’s 35th Birthday celebrations Sanrio and the makers of Blythe worked together to create a limited edition doll only available in Asia. Taking well known elements of Hello Kitty they created Ribbonetta Wish. Her dress was covered in Hello Kitty style bows, with 16 bows all around the hem in a variety of colours; rose berry, yellow, lilac
and peppermint green. Pearls adorn the dress with a magenta bow fastened to her waist, and a tulle lined petticoat to add some extra shape to the outfit. The halter neck dress is accompanied by a magenta satin bolero with light pink polka dots. Ribbonetta Wish has her very own Hello Kitty handbag, adorned with Hello Kitty’s face and a string of pearls as a handle; she has pink stockings and pink Mary Jane shoes. Her hair auburn hair is styled with 2 high ponytails, in a loose perm and finished with the famous Kitty bow. And lastly the all important Hello Kitty pendant 🙂

  

 

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Introducing Blythe Dolls

Many brands like Hello Kitty have proven very popular in Japan, and aesthetically I think many of these brands share similarities with Hello Kitty and the views and values she promotes.

In particular I think the growth of Blythe dolls is very interesting and with my future research I believe they will hold the same stigmas too many as the Hello Kitty brand does. Born in 1972 and manufactured by Kenner Blythe Dolls weren’t popular because of their large heads and their eyes were seen as scary to children, production of the dolls ceased in the same year.

Blythe Dolls remained under the radar until the late 90’s when Gina Garan a doll collector was introduced to them when a friend showed her a listing on eBay. Gina began her collection and started taking pictures of the dolls in different situations and locations using an old SLR camera.

During this time Gina contacted Hasbro regarding using photos of the dolls. Hasbro who had bought Kenner in the 70’s, had no knowledge of Blythe dolls and had to look into the collection they had taken over from Kenner in the 70’s.

Gina a producer and her agent Junko Wong pitched a special Christmas advert to the well known Japanese Department store Parco.The Christmas advert featured a Blythe Doll within a snow globe, the commercial was produced in 2000, airing the same year as Gina’s book “This is Blythe” featuring a selection of her photos. The advert was a huge success with lots of people asking about the dolls.

The following year Blythedoll.com the official website was launched, and Gina held her first exhibition “Blythe by Gina Garan” was held in the Shibuya Parco store. CWC a company headed up by Junko Wong joined forces with Takara to produce the Neo Blythe a Parco Limited Edition Doll, with fans lining up a day before the exhibition opened the dolls sold out in less than an hour and started the commercial revival of Blythe.

Starting in2002 and for 12 months a special monthly picture featured in Vogue Nippon, one of Japans most popular magazines. Every year there is an Annual Blythe Charity Fashion Show in Tokyo, where leading designers from around the world create tiny versions of their outfits of Blythe to wear as she is carried down the runway by white-glove-wearing models. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Prada, Gucci, John Galliano, Issey Miyake and many more have all supplied designs.

Since then Blythe dolls have grown from strength to strength, often prices doubling as the dolls are made in limited numbers. Accessories such as doll clothing, bespoke dolls and stationery have also become very popular.

Sources used thisisblythe.com and blythedoll.com

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Developing my blog

This week I’ve been trying to improve the hits to my blog, since starting my blog in March I have consistently gained more visitors to my website. May was my best month and although June has only just started I can see the levels of hits increasing my the day.

I’m really happy this is happening and I’m starting to notice certain keywords and tags are being searched for.  I am continually trying to develop my blog to hopefully get more interaction from people.

Primarily my blog is an area for me to talk about my PhD journey and what I am doing to build up research; I also post news articles, information about Japanese culture, definitions and posts about the weird and wonderful products available from Sanrio.

In some ways the different posts probably do clash, so over time I hope to improve how my blog reads and looks.

I have also decided to start a links page, in the hope that I can build up some relationships with different bloggers and communities. In turn I hope this will help me further my research when I start to publish polls and questionnaires. People’s views and opinions are so important to my studies, everyone perceives brands and cultures differently depending on their beliefs and experiences. I have already received emails from people who are interested in contributing to my research, and over time I may invite people of interest
to write about their experiences and views as a guest blogger 🙂

I will also be starting a page dedicated to events I think people might be interested in, such as the MCM Expo held in Manchester and London and the Japanese Festival in Brighton. I hope to visit several of these events, firstly to see what goes on and who attends and then again to gather research by speaking to attendees.

If you are interested in Hello Kitty, Japan, Cosplay, Manga, Anime etc and feel your website is relevant to my blog and would like to share links please contact me a HelloKittyDevotee@gmail.com

Events- please contact me with event details (Dates, times, Locations, Contact details, Info) and I will pop them on my events page.

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Japanese Street Fashion: Cosplay

If you’ve had chance to read my dissertation you’ll know how important Japanese Street styles are, especially in the Harajuku district. Over the last few decades the styles have changed and developed as well as women’s roles.

As there are so many street styles I am going to publish separate posts about each fashion and over time I will add more details and pictures. Feel free to comment or get in touch with any views and opinions.

Cosplay

Cosplay, short for “costume role play”, is a type of performance art whose participants outfit themselves with often elaborate costumes and accessories as a specific character or idea. Often, the fashionistas of this street fashion will dress up as characters from manga,
anime, tokusatsu, and video games. Less commonly, they will dress up as characters from live action television shows, fantasy movies, and Japanese pop music bands.

I’m really interested in developing my knowledge of Cosplay, I have recently found out that MCM Expo hold regular exhibitions in London and Manchester with special dedicated Cosplay areas. There are many online shops selling lots of different costumes and there seems to be a huge following in Europe as well as Asia. I hope to visit the exhibitions and meet Cosplay fans and expand my research on Baudrillard’s theories of Hyperreality

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What’s your favourite Hello Kitty product/item?

We all know there is a huge range of different Hello Kitty products on the market, so I’d love to know what your personal favourite is.

I’ve spent hours searching the internet for my studies to find weird and wonderful Hello Kitty merchandise. My personal favourite is the Hello Kitty House, it’s bright, kitsch and everything I think Hello Kitty optimises. I love the fact it actually exists!

Sadly I don’t have enough pennies to buy my very own Hello Kitty house, so my favourite everyday items are my collection of purses. Over the years, especially while at uni I managed to build quite a collection. I like the fact they are reasonably priced, a nice size and available in lots of different shapes and sizes. Compared to all the random products available on the market I know a purse may seem quite boring or average, but I love the fact I can carry a little bit of Hello Kitty around. It’s not offense as such or in your face, it’s quirky and cute.

I’d love to know what your favourite Hello Kitty product is and why, so please comment below……oh and if you own something really special please send me a picture/info and I will post a separate blog HelloKittyDevotee@gmail.com 🙂

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Past News Articles 2007- The cat that got the cream!

Short article from the BBC about Puroland and the rise of Hello Kitty, how the brand has developed so it’s not just for children.

 

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Japanese Street Fashion: Lolita

If you’ve had chance to read my dissertation you’ll know how important Japanese Street styles are, especially in the Harajuku district. Over the last few decades the styles have changed and developed as well as women’s roles.

As there are so many street styles I am going to publish separate posts about each fashion and over time I will add more details and pictures. Feel free to comment or get in touch with any views and opinions.

Lolita
One of the most recognisable styles in Japanese Street Fashion; within its boundaries it has many different styles and themes. Now gaining interest worldwide, Lolita is seen as one of the many different styles that brings the “cute” in Japan. The more well-known styles within Lolita fashion are:

  • Gothic Lolita – is Lolita with a heavy
    influence from the Eastern and Victorian Goth style. Often characterized by dark colours, crosses, bats and spiders, as well as other popular
    gothic ‘icons’. Victorian iron gates and architectural designs are also often seen in dress prints. Skirts are usually worn knee length with
    petticoats beneath for volume. Blouses or shirts are lace-trimmed or ruffled in the Victorian style. Knee length socks with boots, bonnets, brooches, and a parasol finish out this style of Lolita.
  • Sweet Lolita – is the most childlikestyle, mostly characterized by baby animals, fairy tale themes and innocent, childlike attire. It is inspired by baby dolls and Hello Kitty, and is popular among the SweetLolis. Pastel colours are used, as well as other muted colours like black and dark reds and blues. Large head bows, cute purses, elegant parasols and stuffed animals are popular accessories for Sweet Lolita.

  • Punk Lolita – An experimental style, mixing the influences of Punk with Lolita. It can sometimes look
    deconstructed or crazy, while keeping most of the ‘Lolita silhouette’.
  • Classic Lolita is very traditional. It is
    very mature and business-like and focuses on light colours such as, blue, green, and red.
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