BlkSheep ❤ Sanrio
The Sanrio character selection process:
I selected 6 characters. Hello Kitty was a must! I decided to include XO and Pochacco, because they were my favourite when I was young and they bring back a lot of great memories from my childhood. I always liked XO because he has a sassy attitude and he is a cheeky penguin with an alligator as a pet friend. I was one of those kids who wasn’t a huge fan of pink, so XO was my go-to choice. I liked dressing in a lot of black then and I still do today.
In this collaboration, I felt it very important to make the shoes easy to match with a simple pair of denim jeans and a t-shirt. Currently, I may not have a Sanrio pencil case in my bag (like I had as a kid), but I want to reach out to the demographic who did grow up with Sanrio as part of their childhood just like me. This is why I think the characters XO and Pochacco was ideal to include in my design range.
Designing sneakers with a range of beloved characters is a challenge which I did enjoy but boy, getting the pattern to work nicely for a size 35 - 41 was challenging. You’ll notice that each pattern is different, so that the left shoe has a different design to the right shoe. The toecaps are also different too. I figured this was an opportunity not to be taken for granted, so I thought considering that i am making patterns, let’s just make this as difficult as possible for our manufacturer……. If you asked me today, would I do this again, probably not.
The patterns and designs you see on both the sneakers and slip-on, I can guarantee you will not have seen in the market, they’re one of a kind, put together by BlkSheep Empire. So they’re unique and you will not find them anywhere else which makes them extra special and a SANRIO collector’s item.
Honesty, Hello Kitty was a challenge, as she is such an iconic figure of Sanrio, it placed a huge amount of pressure on me to ensure the design would not only ‘pop’ but also represent her character well. I selected Hello Kitty wearing awesome heart sunglasses and focused upon red and black in the artwork rather than pink to modernise and suit my audience. I think Hello Kitty wearing the heart glasses, is not seen heavily in the market and this was important because I wanted this pattern to look fresh.
For her, I selected a white leather, I knew I wanted this shoe to feel like a “classic” “timeless”, simple in colour and an item that is easily matched with any outfit. To her die hard fans, I hope I did her justice.
Seeing how the pattern would look on all sides for a size EU 37.
This famous lazy egg was a must! I knew looking at the eggshell artwork, that the shoes would be metallic silver. This would be the best way to highlight his character who is yellow and orange. For this design, I used different character poses for the left and right shoe. I created the characters to have a music theme. I think we are all currently wearing headphones wherever we go now, so the headphone Gudetama was the inspiration for this design.
XO / Bad Badtz-Maru
XO is a badass and I wanted a shoe sole to reflect his character. The marble black and white rubber sole is perfect for his attitude! Also being Fall/Winter, I chose a gunmetal mirror leather to suit the season. For this design I wanted to include both of his friends “Pochi” an alligator and Hana-Maru, a seal. Looking at their colouration, against a dark gunmetal, the characters pop against the leather. Different to the other lace-up sneakers (Hello Kitty, Gudetama) this is not a heavily patterned shoe. Just two figures on each side, I wanted one shoe for the collection, to speak a little quieter but have the leather and the sole to be a main feature as well to represent the character.
Checking the proportion of the characters on a size EU 37.
Firstly, his chicken friends are the cutest and also his friend “Rachel” the skunk is adorable and she’s looks as though she’s breakdancing. BREAKDANCING! Aesthetically, his friends are just as lovable as Pochacco. Looking at the yellow chickens, I selected Pochacco in a blue/purple outfit just so that the colours would match nicely. And I included Pochacco doing cute active poses, even karate kicks, so that the whole theme for the shoe would be fun, energetic and playful. Seriously though, those chicks are……. “so fluffy”!
The pattern I created involved almost working on a puzzle as I had to move the cinnamoroll in different directions; left right, upside down to form an even pattern and to ensure enough white space in the design to make it look balanced. Also fitting the logo in, I wanted each shoe upper to be different. So the logo is placed in a different position on the left and right shoe. Colourwise, I wanted this pattern simple, therefore easier to match with your wardrobe. Fabric colour wise, I knew that his character is associated with the colour blue, so the dusty blue was selected for FW17
What I love about Pompompurin is the travel theme of Sanrio’s original artwork. I simply took the characters and created a larger pattern by evenly spacing them. I think the best element in this design is the squirrel holding the fishball stick. Looking at that in particular, screams ASIA. Being half chinese, I grew up eating “chun see” from the street stores.
Looking at fabric colours to match this already heavily saturated colour pallete of a pattern, Navy was the easiest choice. Not only is it easiest colour to keep clean being a dark colour, but it also makes the yellow color of Pompompurin look vivid and bright. I thought this pattern would also reflect this shoe style extremely well as it’s the perfect style to take on your travels. Slip it on and you’re ready to go!