So, Hello Kitty.
I don’t know what it is about this mouth-less cat with a red bow that makes people obsessed. Even Balenciaga made luxury bags emblazoned with the iconic cartoon figure’s face—and for men, no less!
In Singapore, the Hello Kitty mania is alive and real. And it all started on January 1, 2000.
At the dawn of the millennium, for the first time, McDonald’s in Singapore had collaborated with Sanrio by releasing a 40-day Wedding Design Hello Kitty (alongside its male companion Dear Daniel) toy promotion with their Extra Value Meals. There were six different sets to be collected, and each week, Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel dressed in matching costumes that ranged from Japanese wedding costumes to Chinese traditional wedding outfits.
A Carousell post on the original 2000 edition McDonald’s x Hello Kitty plush toys
These plushies very quickly became a must-have for collectors, sparking a queuing frenzy in the thousands all over the island. I was 11 that year and got in on the frenzy early. And while I wasn’t really a fan of Hello Kitty, I still forced my parents to get me one.
Yes, one. Solo. And not even of Hello Kitty. I insisted on getting just a solo Dear Daniel plushie in a blue astronaut’s outfit just because I wanted to be ~*dIfFeReNt*~. I never played with it or even displayed it with pride. I just wanted it because everyone wanted it. And it was so stupid of me to just get one because, without its counterpart, the resale value of it was practically worthless.
For what it’s worth, I was always more of a Bad Badtz-Maru fan. I just enjoyed his apathetic attitude and expressions much more compared to others in the Sanrio family. And as time went on, I added lethargic egg Gudetama to my list of favourites but that is a story for another time.
So needless to say, when McDonald’s continued to drop more Hello Kitty merchandise (because, hello capitalism), I passed on each and every one of them. And, of course, when news hit last week that the carriers were to be available for $7.90 with the purchase of any Extra Value Meal™ or Doubles Feast, I just lazily scrolled past it on my Facebook news feed.
Until one landed on my table. And when I say landed, by that I mean Associate Digital Editor Hidayah dumping one she received as part of a press kit on me. And then the following words were exchanged.
“Hi, Cheryl. I need you to carry this Hello Kitty carrier as your purse for a week.”
“But I don’t even like Hello Kitty!” I replied indignantly.
“That’s why it’s funny,” Hidayah responded.
“Then why am I not laughing,” I said in annoyance.
But it was too late. As the resident ~*fAsHiOn ExPeRt*~ (aka the fashion editor on the team) I was now assigned this fashion challenge.
Scroll through the gallery to see what I wore.
Perception is a strange thing. While I was initially appalled to tote around the carrier, my attitude towards it started shifting on Day 3 of my experiment, which was the actual public launch date of the carrier.
People had started to come up to me to compliment me for carrying the bag. Some even expressed their jealousy at my good fortune at procuring it. Many, of course, had anticipated long queues and did not bother taking the chance to purchase one.
As many of my peers and strangers alike pawed at my bag, I basked in the admiration and the compliments (sorry, I know I sound really big-headed right now!). Was this how people felt like when they bought their limited edition designer purses? Is this my version of flexing a hard-to-get Louis Vuitton x Supreme purse? Maybe.
After spending five days with the carrier as my purse, I was slowly getting used to seeing Hello Kitty’s face. And design-wise, it really wasn’t the worst thing in the world to carry. Trust me when I say there are some really ugly luxury bags out there that you couldn’t even possibly pay me to use.
(And no, Hidads, this isn’t an invitation to another fashion challenge.)
Not only did I secretly enjoy planning kitschy outfits around the carrier (I am, after all, really competitive and hate to back down from a challenge), but as someone who prided herself on wearing anything, it was a truly an interesting way to push my own style boundaries. So, no regrets on taking this on.
P.S. If anyone wants my Hello Kitty carrier, feel free to drop me an email. But first come, first served! [Edit: It’s been claimed!]
To read more of Cheryl’s fashion challenges, click on the links below.