With her many collaborations with a multitude of designers and brands, it seems like Hello Kitty has merchandise for just about everyone. But while the range from cheap Kitty-chan trinkets to premium luxury items means Japan’s most famous 2-D cat has covered the demographics of both young and old as well as rich and poor, things are a little bit less balanced when it comes to the catalogue of Hello Kitty tie-ins for men versus those for women.
The ever-industrious Kitty is looking to make things a little more even, though, and last year corporate parent Sanrio announced the Hello Kitty Men Project. As part of the initiative, this month fashionable dudes in one fashionable Tokyo neighborhood can get their hands on three new Hello Kitty items made just for men.
The new items are available exclusively at Lumine Man Shibuya, the men’s-only offshoot of department store chain Lumine located in one of Tokyo’s centers of youth pop culture. Each of the three offerings comes courtesy of a tie-up with a different brand.
Starting things off is this hooded sweatshirt from Casper John.
Featuring a field of blue Hello Kitty ribbons accompanied by a silhouette of the character herself, the 7,992-yen (US$68) pullover can be worn under a jacket for a little extra coziness in the winter, and is also warm enough to function as outerwear in its own right during the spring.
Moving down to footwear, these Unline by Alfredo Bannister shoes once again make use of Kitty-chan’s hair bow while bestowing just a bit of extra height to their wearer. While the less fashion-conscious might call them loafers, Unline classifies them as opera shoes, a more regal-sounding name befitting their 30,240-yen price tag.
Finally, Denime’s 31,320-yen denim jacket contains the most subtle nod of all to its feline inspiration. The simple, timeless design should make it easy to work into outfits for years to come, and as it ages the distressed look of the material should contrast nicely with the cuteness of the ribbon.
As you can see from their prices, Kitty-chan isn’t skimping on quality or status in her masculine joint venture. To help justify some of their cost, while supplies last buyers of any of the three Hello Kitty Men items will receive a business card holder with the project name splashed across it.
Also, to literally sweeten the deal, shoppers who purchase anything in Lumine Man Shibuya between now and February 22 receive a piece of chocolate decorated with the event’s logo, once again while quantities last. And if that’s not enough to fill you up, the Cafe Manduka, located on the building’s first floor, is also getting into the spirit with Hello Kitty coasters and crepe wrappers.
Cafe patrons can also vote on whether or not they’re down with the idea of male Hello Kitty fans. If you’re still on the fence, Midori, one of our Japanese-language correspondents, says she’s totally accepting of them, adding that she digs a man who can respect Kitty’s strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.
▼ Kitty-chan works hard for the money by being the money.
Lumine Man Shibuya /ルミネマン渋谷店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jinnan 1-22-11