For ‘80s kids, Hello Kitty toys are as familiar and nostalgic as Teddy Ruxpin, Cabbage Patch dolls and those clunky Fisher Price cassette players. And as for Hello Kitty herself — she has one of the most iconic cartoon faces in the world. A round cute face with no mouth, that is. A face you’d be forgiven for thinking was the face of a cat, but that’s actually not the case, as anthropologist Christine Yano discovered.
Yano, from the University of Hawaii, was curating an exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in honor of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary in 2014 when she referred to Hello Kitty as a “cat” in the script. Hello Kitty manufacturer Sanrio quickly set her straight: “Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature.” Who knew?
Hello Kitty may have been around for over four decades — first designed by Yuko Shimizu, she was added to the lineup of early Sanrio characters in 1974 and made her grand debut on a vinyl coin purse in Japan, sitting between a bottle of milk and a goldfish bowl — but she shows no signs of going anywhere. In fact, she’s as popular as ever. In recent Kitty news, a giant Hello Kitty store just opened in L.A.; it’s the second flagship store for Sanrio in the city and boasts 3,600 square feet packed with clothing, footwear, accessories, stationery, toys and limited-edition merchandise from Hello Kitty and her fellow cartoon characters Aggretsuko, Chococat (who is a cat), Gudetama, Keroppi, My Melody and Little Twin Stars.
But you don’t need to go to Tinseltown to stock up on Hello Kitty merch. Here are some of the goodies you can order online, perfect for ’80s kids at heart (and actual ’80s kids, perhaps).
Hello Kitty helmet
When you’re not “skipping through the land where the beasts roam free” like Hello Kitty likes to do, cycling is the next best thing.
Hello Kitty helmet (5-8 years), $21.99 at Amazon
Hello Kitty tee
Hello Kitty’s favorite color is red, dontcha know.
Hello Kitty T-shirt, $19.49 at Walmart
Hello Kitty coloring book
When Hello Kitty needs some downtime, we’re guessing she gets a kick out of coloring.
Hello Kitty coloring book, $11.55 at Amazon
Hello Kitty shoes
Hands down, the new Native x Hello Kitty shoewear range has the most adorable things to put little feet in.
Native x Hello Kitty Charley Sandal: Black, $35 at Native Shoes
Hello Kitty quilted jacket
The Hello Kitty lining gives this quilted jacket an ’80s edge.
Hello Kitty quilted jacket, $20.99 at Target
Hello Kitty backpack
Because you need somewhere to store all your Hello Kitty collectibles.
Hello Kitty backpack, $16.68 at Amazon
Hello Kitty card game
It’s the same as basic UNO, but cuter.
UNO Hello Kitty card game, $9.11 at Amazon
Hello Kitty sleep robe
Keep cozy with Hello Kitty in this soft sleep robe.
Hello Kitty hooded sleep robe, $37.49 at Walmart
Hello Kitty sing-along karaoke
Hello Kitty may live in London, but she first came to life in Japan, and what else started in Japan? Yup, karaoke.
Hello Kitty Sing A Long Molded Karaoke, $19.79 at Amazon
Hello Kitty plush
Every Hello Kitty needs a plush version of Kitty White.
Hello Kitty plush, $11.62 at Amazon
Hello Kitty sweatshirt
Walmart has a stellar range of Hello Kitty merch, including this sweet sweatshirt.
Hello Kitty sweatshirt, $46.99 at Walmart
Hello Kitty long-sleeve tee
Wear your love for Hello Kitty on your (long) sleeves.
Hello Kitty long sleeve T-shirt, $9.99 at Target
Hello Kitty dollhouse
It might not be an exact replica of the London house Hello Kitty lives in (with her Mama, Papa and twin sister Mimmy), but it’s super cute.
Hello Kitty dollhouse, $40.45 at Amazon
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