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Mar 16, 2015
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Hello Kitty for men: Nendo rises to the challenge

By
AFP-Relaxnews
Published
Mar 16, 2015

The iconic character Hello Kitty has gotten a masculine makeover by Japanese design studio Nendo, which has revealed its collection of T-shirts featuring the character as part of a team-up with Sanrio and Japanese magazine Pen.

Last year, Sanrio, the character's parent company, launched a project to get more Hello Kitty products made for men -- on the occasion of Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary and just a month, incidentally, after announcing that she is not actually a kitty at all, but "a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold."

Hello Kitty by Nendo - ©'76,'15 SANRIO


An event at Hankyu Men's Tokyo, produced by Pen, marked the launch and featured designs by Nendo, among other designers.
Hello Kitty's pink dress and bow cater to a mainly female crowd, but Nendo's designs, created as they were as part of a collaboration with the men's lifestyle magazine Pen, needed to attract a male audience. The solution? To counteract all of Hello Kitty's right-brain cuteness by "stimulating the left brain."

The result, which the studio has now revealed in full, is a range of Ts that tie in elements of math, science and architecture and maintain a classically masculine palette.

Among them, Radiograph Kitty features an x-ray image revealing the character's skeleton, Math Kitty use numbers and symbols to spell out "hello kitty" as a mathematical formula, Architecture Kitty is based on sketches by Le Corbusier, Biology Kitty sports a graphic using insect specimens and Art Kitty manages to evoke the character's face using Mondrian-style abstract shapes and colors.

Nendo's designs are not currently for sale, but there's hope for members of the male persuasion looking to wear their Hello Kitty fandom with pride.

Phase two of Hello Kitty Men was a three-piece collection that hit Tokyo department store Lumine Man Shibuya last month and included a Casper John hoodie (7,992 Yen, or around $66/€63), a denim jacket by Denime (31,320 Yen, or around $258/€245) and velvet-y opera shoes with an embroidered bow from Rhein by Alfred Bannister (30,240 Yen/$249/€237). 

For more serious moments, a business card case featuring the character was offered as a free gift.

Sales of those items were originally planned to last for a limited time, but there are talks of extended availability. If you're ready to start the trend now, Los Angeles shop Japan.LA has collaborated with Sanrio on a capsule collection that includes two T-shirts for men ($35 each).

Will Hello Kitty succeed in winning over the male demographic? As she is known to say, "You can never have too many friends!"

See the Nendo T-shift designs at: www.nendo.jp/en/works/hello-kitty-by-nendo-2

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