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JapanLA Merges The Simpsons + Hello Kitty

Worlds collide for two iconic anniversaries in this new collection by the kawaii retailer

by Phuong-Cac Nguyen in Style on 20 October 2014

Fashion, Hello Kitty, Japan, JapanLA, Kawaii, LA, MOCA, The Simpsons, Hello Kitty Con 2014, Sanrio, Womenswear

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Let the clamoring begin, because it very well may be one of the cutest—and most surprising—combos in history. A year after Sanrio and Twentieth Century Fox announced the The Simpsons and Hello Kitty brand licensing opportunities in anticipation of Sanrio’s 40th anniversary along with The Simpson’s 25th this year (teasing the public with a picture of just the top of the heads of the Simpsons’ family members with Hello Kitty nestled among them), fans of the characters will finally see the first of those product launches on 30 October 2014. On that day, JapanLA’s adorable and covetable eight-piece line makes its anticipated debut at Hello Kitty Con 2014 at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. It’s just one of the few special events lined up for the Hello Kitty weekend extravaganza.

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Blogs and fan sites had buzzed with speculation. Should we expect to see Marge or Lisa with the classic Hello Kitty bow in her hair? Will Hello Kitty’s fur be shaded yellow? In the full reveal, the designers at Fox and Sanrio have stayed loyal to each character’s distinct look, except the Simpsons' trademark bulging eyes and noses have been replaced with the tiny oval shapes that we have come to associate with Hello Kitty’s face, and their hands are paws. Hello Kitty is her usual self and looks like a natural part of the cast.

“Seeing [Hello Kitty and the Simpsons] together and interacting is really exciting. I think that’s why everyone gets excited… It’s something you wouldn’t imagine. They did it, you see it and it makes sense, and looks very cute. It’s Hello Kitty making The Simpsons even cuter,” says JapanLA founder Jamie Rivadeneira.

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For JapanLA, pitching Sanrio on the concept of the clothing line was a natural next step in its longtime, on-going partnership with the retailer—Rivadeneira has curated several of its LA events and is one of the organizers of the Hello Kitty Convention. Her store already has created 12 Hello Kitty clothing lines thus far, including a special line for the Hello Kitty exhibit currently running at the neighboring Japanese American National Museum. The collaborative line took Rivadeneira and creative director Stephanie Nguyen one year to decide on the pieces.

The latest line is decidedly fun and of course colorful, incorporating the same signature considerations that JapanLA puts into all of its clothing designs: oversize printed tops, made to be worn with ruffle or shorts and leggings—just like how women like to wear tops in Japan, Rivadeneira points out—dresses, a skirt and a bright-red knit cardigan. The men’s offering will be a t-shirt.

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The collection, made in LA, will be available first at JapanLA’s booth at the Hello Kitty Convention, before it’s available at a total of 12 retailers, both online and in boutiques including JapanLA and Sanrio stores. The only piece that will not be available locally is the cardigan, which will debut in the US in December.

Pieces run from $65 for a tee to $160 for the cardigan, and JapanLA is already working on a follow-up collection for spring 2015.

Images courtesy of JapanLA

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Makers Mondays: The Great Outdoors

With Shinola, we look back on our favorite made-in-America brand stories

by CH Editors in Design on 20 October 2014

Apparel, Boots, Footwear, Leather, Outdoors, Outerwear, Shinola, Makers Monday

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As part of Detroit-based manufacturer Shinola's Makers Monday initiative—which encourages purchasing American-made products to help create and keep jobs in the United States—Cool Hunting is highlighting and looking back on our favorite brands that make quality products in our very own backyard. First up, it's rugged, functional and long-lasting gear for those with an adventurous spirit and desire to get outside and into the wilderness.

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Danner

A tour of Danner's Portland facility with pattern engineer Casey Rakoczy meant CH got an inside look at the heritage brand's processes. The company’s manufacturing standards remain as they have for nearly a century, with each boot upholding Danner’s commitment to rigorous testing standards, materials sourced in the US and meticulous handmade construction in their factory outside Portland—standards so high that the company is also called upon to make footwear for not only loggers and fashion enthusiasts, but also hikers, hunters and the United States Marine Corps. It takes three to four days to make each boot, with nearly every step done by hand—from selecting and cutting each piece of leather, to sewing and molding each one of Danner’s custom lasts.

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Pierrepont Hicks

When newlyweds Mac and Katherine McMillan started Pierrepont Hicks in 2009, their mission was to make the perfect tie. Having achieved achieved that goal some time ago, the duo has expanded their line bit by bit to include shoes and outerwear for men and women. With heavy duty, rugged and durable apparel just made for adventuring, the label has come a long way in four short years. And, while named for a leafy corner in Brooklyn, New York, Pierrepont Hicks is for those who aren't afraid to get some dirt on their boots and explore the wilds beyond the city limits.

Filson

When launching their new factory and global headquarters last year—the first move for the brand in 80 years—Filson invited us in for a first look at their new space. CH got a unique peek behind the scenes and learned how this classic luggage and outdoor clothing company manages concepts, sales and production all under one roof. Originally outfitting pioneers for the Alaskan wilderness, Filson has maintained their heritage elements as they expand the function and fit of their products for the modern world.

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Wolverine

Running in the same American Heritage circles as Danner and Filson, Wolverine (founded back in 1883) is known for providing true lovers of the outdoors with dependable, no-nonsense products. We are still loving the made-in-USA Rowan by Wolverine 1000 Mile and Filson, which offers a vintage aesthetic executed with proven materials and trusted techniques. The company is truly heritage and, for 130 years, has maintained its dedication to authenticity and providing active people with comfortable and functional boots and shoes.

Danner factory image by Adrienne So, all others courtesy of respective brands

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ListenUp

An Arthur Russell tribute, 10 techno records from female producers, Emile Haynie joined by Brian Wilson and more in the music we tweeted this week

by CH Editors in Listen Up on 19 October 2014

Ada Lovelace, Arthur Russell, Brian Wilson, Charity, ListenUp, Music, SoundCloud, Techno

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Sage Caswell: Buyerside (Archie Pelago Overdub)

Archie Pelago, a Brooklyn-based trio that merges improvisational jazz with experimental electronic music, play their instruments (cello, sax and trumpet) as well as they do mixer knobs and effects pedals. Their twist on skate video director-turned-dance music producer Sage Caswell's "Buyerside" is an intense flash of reeds and synth chords over electronic beats, for a brief track you'd only play at the peak hour of the party. No one is immune to this feverish release of energy. Caswell's upcoming EP Good to See You/To Be Continued will be released through Archie Pelago Music on 3 November 2014.

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Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell

Cellist Arthur Russell passed away from AIDS at 40 years old, performing and composing until his illness would no longer allow him to. The critically acclaimed, beloved and highly influential (if not entirely well-known) artist left behind a catalog of experimental pop disco that sounds equally relevant in today's music landscape as it did when it was released in the mid '80s. Master Mix sees a wide variety of recognizable artists from Robyn to Hot Chip to José González pay tribute to the late Russell to benefit the Red Hot Organization's ongoing battle against AIDS. For fans of Russell, the nearly two-hour mix of covers and reworks is an essential listen, while for others, a sure introduction to Russell's complex, beautiful work.

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Ada's Top 10 Techno Records

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, which highlights achievements by women all over the world in the STEM fields, the Vinyl Factory tapped German techno queen (coincidentally also named) Ada to share her top 10 techno records from female producers. (Fittingly, Ada has already written a song about the historic figure, titled "Lovelace.") Choice selections range from the simple but grooving 2003 track "River" from Berlin-based M.I.A. (Michaela or Mia Grobelny, lest you confuse it for the equally empowering female rapper) to the darker and aggressive "Actio Reactio" from festival favorite Helena Hauff.

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Emile Haynie: Falling Apart (feat. Andrew Wyatt and Brian Wilson)

With a beautiful, eerie Canon in D vibe and something loosely resembling strung out Beach Boy harmonies (as the song features none other than Brian Wilson), Emile Haynie's Falling Apart delivers layer upon layer of the unexpected. It churns forward, full and playful, while tackling pretty tragic lyrics for such a soaring pop track. Haynie, a Grammy Award winner for his work on Eminem's Recovery, most recently topped the charts with Lana Del Rey's album Born to Die, which he produced. But here, he truly demonstrates his diverse talents as a songsmith in his own right.

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Henry Hall: Watery Deep

Showing brilliant promise as a demo, "Watery Deep" from up-and-comer Henry Hall feels like the musical love child of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and Donnie and Joe Emerson's "Baby." Hall's lucid vocals lend sincerity to the emotional pull, making it feel at once melancholic and uplifting. His equally romantic song "Talk" recently set the mood for filmmaker Casey Neistat's five-minute short, "A Love Story"—a beautiful montage-like video tribute to his wife and their relationship over eight years.

ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we Tweeted throughout the week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam. Hear them all in our ListenUp playlist on Spotify.

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