For me, Hello Kitty and Sanrio in general, defined a lot of my childhood. Growing up, my family would frequent this Chinese restaurant that was situated in the same plaza as a Sanrio store. I loved eating there because I knew that after my meal, I’d be treated with Hello Kitty strawberry bubblegum. In elementary school, my friends and I would pass around Friends Only Files. We’d write our secrets, announce our gripes, and memorialize them in a sacred notebook for our eyes only. I can go on and on about ring watches, picture wallets, stamp cards, etc, etc. So when I heard that the Hello Kitty Con – commemorating her 40th anniversary – would be right here in LA, I knew I had to go.
It was… alright. I’d describe it as pandemonium, unorganized; a marketplace more than anything. There were way too many people. Wait times were so long that I didn’t get to see everything. But it was nostalgic and proof of Hello Kitty’s cultural significance. She has presence in the sports, fashion, music, art, and culinary industries. And they all come together at MOCA for the next three days.
I really enjoyed going through their vintage section. Anything purchased came with a certificate of authenticity. I almost bought this 35mm camera.
The market area featured some of the coolest Hello Kitty collabs. Not pictured but very honorable mention were Hello Kitty x MLB, Hello Kitty x Spam, and Hello Kitty x Sephora. I wondered why Vans wasn’t there. But then again, I may have missed it since the wait to OTHER market was a good 2 hours.
This part of the convention was crazy. Tucked in between the carnival and a long line for something else, was a small room called “HK Ink”. Going into it I knew it obviously had to do with tattoos but I wasn’t expecting this:
You had over 100 Hello Kitty inspired tattoos to choose from. For free. Artists from LA Ink were actually on deck to help you out. The way you get it done is by arriving to the convention super early and booking your same day appointment. Apparently I lost my chance as of 8AM today.
And that’s pretty much Hello Kitty Con in a nutshell. The outside area had a lot more activities, and there were panels and guest speakers to hear, even workshops to participate in. But I was over it. It was exhausting and claustrophobic. Plus, I had to make my way to the other side of Little Tokyo for another Hello Kitty event, which I’ll post about next.