JapanLA Merges The Simpsons + Hello Kitty
Worlds collide for two iconic anniversaries in this new collection by the kawaii retailer
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.
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.
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.
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