When the Japanese company Sanrio first launched “Hello Kitty” in 1974 as a greetings card for children, this patented brand cartoonlike image of a cat (a lucky emblem in Japan) was applied to over 1,000 products ranging from domestic appliances, computer keyboards, personal stereos, and credit cards to sweet wrappers, T-shirts, and eyelash curlers (see also branding).
Hello Kitty was even featured in the Japanese theme park Puroland in Tama City, Tokyo, alongside the puppy Pochacoo as a Sanrio mascot. Hello Kitty items have spread throughout the globe, from Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian nations to the United Kingdom, where she has appeared on t-shirts in Miss Selfridge and Top Shop as part of the Japanese Cute (‘Kawaii’) culture phenomena.
Club culture and young women have hijacked Hello Kitty as a sarcastic style statement, even though it is primarily oriented towards children by advertising all types of affordable giftware. She has been applied to more than 3,000 products worldwide. Since early in the 21st century, her output is an annual turnover of over $9 billion for Sanrio.
Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.
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