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What Disney princess do you most closely identify with? Admit it. You thought of someone right away. Maybe you won’t be forthcoming with it, ‘coz you think it’s juvenile, but you thought of someone all the same. Was it Cinderella and her compulsion to clean every nook and cranny? Or was it Jasmine and her rebellious spirit? Perhaps, it was it Bella who prefers to be lost in her books instead of people?
That’s the beauty of cartoons. They’re relevant for any age, and that’s precisely why fashion continues to tap into this endless reservoir of inspiration.
The most recognisable character in the world? Mickey Mouse. Ask a 3-year-old or ask an 80-year-old man. Ask someone in India, or ask someone in Iran. They all recognise the small problem-solving mouse with the big ears.
Let us explain the relevance of this via a real-life example.
Back in April 2016, Parisian fashion house Kenzo launched a limited edition clothing line based on Disney’s animated rendition of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Now, there might not be a huge market buying Kenzo, but there sure as hell is a huge market that would appreciate a Baloo The Bear t-shirt. It’s the same logic as with any collab - Expand your TG to include theirs, and hopefully acquire some new customers in the process. Same goes for the recent Hello Kitty x Puma collaboration.
Of course, you could potentially chalk this down to fashion’s eternal obsession with the youth culture. Youth culture right now happens to be All-About-The-Gram! A giant purple whale onesie or a phone case with mouse ears gets you way more comments and likes than a denim and white tee ensemble ever would. Unless, of course, said tee happened to be emblazoned with a Levi’s logo, in which case, #Throwback gets you a lot of hashtag points, which brings us to our next point.
Remember when your entire social circle started cancelling plans because they were too busy catching Pokémons? Millennials have a NEED to #Throwback and that extends far beyond watching Friends re-runs. How else would you explain the Queen of Instagram, Kendall Jenner, replicating Paris Hilton’s birthday ensemble to the T, captioning it “vintage Paris Hilton vibes"?
Cartoons tick the boxes of visual gram appeal and provoke a sense of nostalgia, a #Throwback to when you were 12 and would finish your homework just in time for Disney Hour!
It’s the era of #Tribes and #SquadGoals. It’s also the era of quirk - thanks to players like Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga and Vetements, Alessandro Michele of Gucci and Jeremy Scott of Moschino. Combine the two and you get the perfect cocktail of quirky tribes. So are you more PumaxHelloKitty or CoachxDisney? Let your shoes do the talking, or would you rather your handbag do it? Take your pick.
So when you pull out that Mickey sweatshirt the next time, as yourself - Am I doing it for the gram, for good old nostalgia?