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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

The 2000s is a time characterized by nostalgia, warmth, and the plethora of public figures that emerged and would continue to stay relevant in pop culture. One icon continues to take the world by storm with her signature bow that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide, transcending age, gender, and cultural boundaries. From her humble beginnings as a simple character on a coin pouch to a global phenomenon spanning fashion, beauty, and entertainment, Hello Kitty continues to stand above it all and bring joy to millions. 

The Origin Story

Hello Kitty’s official debut was on a coin pouch designed by Yuko Shimizu in 1975, with her signature overalls and bow shining through. Conceived as a cute and relatable character for young girls, Hello Kitty quickly gained popularity in Japan before capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide. Despite her minimalist design — devoid of mouth and facial expressions — Hello Kitty’s charm lies in her ability to be an everlasting chameleon that reflects the emotions and experiences of everyone and everything, allowing fans to project their feelings onto her as a means of comfort.

Fashion and Lifestyle Icon 

When you’re out and about, it’s undeniable that you’ll encounter some type of Hello Kitty merch out in the wild. From clothing to home to cosmetics, Hello Kitty’s adorable bow and ears are branded on millions of products worldwide to cater to her fanbase of millions. Hello Kitty also continues to take the fashion world by storm, as she is making a re-emergence, especially in women’s fashion. It’s even likely you’ll see her on household items, anywhere from a toaster to a mug, making your home ten times more comforting. It’s super common to see a Hello Kitty themed item anywhere from a young girl’s toybox to a college-aged girl’s t-shirt, because that’s just how iconic she is! 

Empowering Self-Expression

Beyond her cute exterior, Hello Kitty is used to exploring the values of friendship, kindness, and self-confidence, resonating especially with young women seeking a type of positivity in their sometimes stressful lives. For young school-aged women who are especially navigating the complexities of identity and self-discovery, Hello Kitty serves as more than just a keychain; she becomes a comforting companion and a reminder to embrace one’s unique quirks and strengths in times of extreme change. 

Evolving with the Times

Despite being invented in the 1970s, Hello Kitty has kept up her icon status all these years by consistently being able to keep up with the trends. Through strategic collaborations with every brand under the sun, Hello Kitty continues to reinvent herself, staying ahead of the curve while still keeping her OG charm. Currently, we’re entering an age where mothers and daughters alike can gush over their love of Hello Kitty as she breaks down these barriers between generations due to her longevity! People especially appreciate Hello Kitty’s ability to combine the old with the new. She continues to be an inspiration for future generations as she was for the generations that came before.

Cultivating a Global Community 

What truly sets Hello Kitty apart is her ability to create connections and a sense of belonging among fans worldwide. Through social media, Hello Kitty stans can finally come together to share their passion, creativity, and love for all things Kitty. Part of Hello Kitty’s huge reemergence in 2020 is due to social media breathing life into her again, and now Hello Kitty is just as fresh as she was in 1975! Hello Kitty represents not only a beloved character but also a shared cultural experience — a nostalgic touchstone that transcends language barriers and physical distance, uniting individuals from different backgrounds in a common bond of joy and friendship.

In a world filled with trends that come and go and ever-changing fads, Hello Kitty stands as a timeless icon of joy and positivity. For women and fans of all ages, Hello Kitty embodies the essence of childhood wonder in a world where that isn’t always appreciated. Whether her face is on a backpack, a coin pouch, or simply bringing a smile to someone’s face, Hello Kitty continues to inspire, proving that sometimes, the simplest things bring the greatest joy.

Sophia Ardon

UC Berkeley '27

Sophia is a first year at UC Berkeley intending to major in Psychology and Media Studies and minor in Journalism. She works on the writing team and has enjoyed writing ever since she got her first diary. Sophia enjoys coffee, reading, and trying out new foods in the Bay Area!