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Hello Kitty Is A Victim of Fast Fashion

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Boston chapter.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a huge fan of Sanrio. My childhood was filled with a variety of merch, mostly pertaining to Hello Kitty, even though now I would say I prefer My Melody. For those who may not know what I’m talking about, Sanrio is a Japanese company that designs and produces products that focus on Japanese pop culture, and Hello Kitty and My Melody are just two examples of characters that Sanrio has created and popularized. However, even though Sanrio has been well-known for a long time in Asian countries or Asian American households, it has only recently started to gain traction in America. Nowadays, Sanrio products are so easily accessible, but too much of anything can be a bad thing.

Diving into the history of Sanrio is actually quite grim, but in summary, many agree that Japan’s “kawaii” culture was prioritized in order to cover up their war crimes. So as you’d expect, there was a time where America did not want to use any products from Japan, including Sanrio. Of course there has been a very long timeline to where we are today, and now we see the popularity of the company continue to rise. 

Truthfully, I was a bit bitter to see people suddenly rushing to buy anything that had Hello Kitty’s face on it considering how no one seemed to enjoy Sanrio when I was younger. This feeling is similar to many people’s experiences of having a part of their culture promoted by someone who doesn’t quite look like them. And by my culture, I don’t mean to speak out on any Japanese American experiences since I myself am Vietnamese American, but Asian American cultures overall were not looked at positively for many years. 

This is especially ironic considering how Sanrio’s popularity really started to rise during the pandemic, where Asian Americans were being criticized just for being Asian. 

But, a part of me is still excited to see how Sanrio has become normalized considering how much I enjoy their merch, and it’s especially nice how I can go to any store and find something related to the brand. 

However, much of the brand’s essence has been lost with all these constant releases. Since Hello Kitty is so popular, other companies have been quick to just throw her face on something just because they know people will buy it. The lack of thought that goes into American Sanrio releases is apparent, and a quick Google search comparing American merch to Asian merch would be enough evidence to prove this. Not only is this unfair to consumers who are enjoyers of the brand and want to obtain merch, it is also unfair to the environment to continuously put out these tacky items. Because sure, someone may buy it, but with the constant releases, even avid fans would lose interest in buying their 100th plain shirt that just has Hello Kitty sitting in a different position. I for one am someone who needs to listen to their own advice, though, and to stop purchasing everything that I see that has a Sanrio character on it. Needless to say, everyone should just be more mindful of what they buy.

We should also be mindful of the companies we choose to support. Many companies have come out Sanrio collaborations, but the prices for their pieces are hiked up, yet their quality stays the same or sometimes even worse.

And again, perhaps that is not their concern since they know their target audiences, which is why I want to reiterate that we need to become more mindful of what we decide to buy. I’ve seen countless TikTok videos of people doing Sanrio hauls as they’re actively going out of their way just to hunt for these products, just for these items to be repetitive, differentiating only in miniscule changes in the designs.

Not to mention how many of these hauls lead to resellers selling these items for triple the amount they paid for. It is especially exhausting considering how none of these collector’s items would stand the test of time. 

Tammy Pham

U Mass Boston '24

Tammy Pham is a member of Her Campus UMass Boston Chapter. I write articles for the team. I’m in my fourth year at the University of Massachusetts Boston and I am currently pursuing a double concentration in Finance and Marketing. Outside of the university, I work as a Beauty Advisor at Ulta where I utilize customer services skills in order to satisfy guests’ needs. Additionally, I also work in Task, where I help maintain the integrity of the store. When I have down time, I enjoy spending it with my friends and family by visiting new places to explore. I also enjoy free writing on the side, just to get all my thoughts out. Coincidentally, I like finding new songs to listen to in order to encapsulate the mood while I write. Furthermore, as mentioned, working at Ulta has increased my level of interest in the beauty industry, and I hope to use my degree to further my path along the cosmetics business world.