Hello Kitty Mania

Miami women of all ages are obsessed

From A-listers to soccer moms to their little girls, it seems like every gal loves Hello Kitty.

In Miami, there is definitely Hello Kitty mania.
Coral Gables resident Annette Frances Iraola, 31, is proud to share the same birthday as the famous cat and said she has been a fan as long as she can recall.
Her most vivid memory of her first Hello Kitty item was a matching hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste set.
“My last purchase was earlier this summer. I bought my daughter a Hello Kitty beach towel,” said Iraola, who added it wasn’t the first product she’s gotten for her one-year-old. “I don’t think Hello Kitty can ever be popular enough.”
These days, the iconic cartoon seems to be everywhere and on everything, and we’re not only talking coloring books and backpacks for schoolgirls.
At several Miami boutiques and stores, everything from designer jewelry to steering wheel covers, guitars, Zippo lighters and even vibrators -- which were intended to be for shoulder massages until sex shops started stocking them -- can be found.
On a recent Saturday at Forever 2I in Dolphin Mall, dozens of teens and moms were trying on all sorts of Hello Kitty graphic tees while at a North Miami Target, a few college students were eyeing a Hello Kitty toaster.
Kendall resident Yvette Recio Garcia-Tunon, 31, said she loads up on Hello Kitty themed pens, pencils and other supplies for her classroom and likes to also get girlfriends and family gifts.
“It’s nostalgic for me and brings me back to my own childhood when I see it,” said Garica-Tunon, a fifth grade teacher at Sweetwater Elementary.
Come November 1st, Hello Kitty fans have something to look forward to as Ms. Kitty will be turning 35 years old.
To commemorate the big day, a new collection of anniversary-themed merchandise is being released at select stores in September.
The theme, called Hello Kitty Colors, will also include events and activities.
Annie Vazquez is a Miami-based journalist and shop-a-holic. Email her with any fashion tips, boutique openings, events, sales and bargains at anniecvazquez@yahoo.com
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