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Exploring Sanriocore Fashion: A Guide to the Aesthetic, Key Pieces, and Origins

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Sanrio, the Japanese brand best known for the creation of the famous Hello Kitty, has been an international sensation since the mid-1980s. In recent decades, Sanriocore has emerged and gained popularity among enthusiasts. The Sanriocore aesthetic, sometimes known as Hello Kitty Y2K, is best characterized by its cute, playful, and often edgy styles, incorporating various Sanrio characters onto clothing and accessories. This guide will explore the origins of Sanriocore, its key pieces, and what defines the perfect Sanriocore/ Hello Kitty Y2K look.

What is Sanriocore?

Sanriocore is an aesthetic that is centered around the cute Sanrio characters, stories, and more. This term refers to any one of the Sanrio Brand characters or a combination of multiple characters’ styles. Sanriocore may immediately be known in a fashion sense, but it extends to home decor, stationery, vehicles, and anything that a character can be printed on.  

The fashion of Sanriocore is eclectic, blending cute and playful, and sometimes with a little dark edge. The colors and silhouettes are bright and cartoon-like, paying homage to the cheeky world the characters hail from. 

The History of the Sanriocore Aesthetic 

Sanriocore is centered around the early 2000s, so many of the Sanriocore garments are inspired by many of the styles and silhouettes of the Y2K fashion era. The first ever Hello Kitty accessory was produced in 1974, a coin purse sporting Hello Kitty with a glass of milk and her goldfish. She grew to become a pop culture phenomenon in the mid-80s both in Japan and on the international stage. She perfectly encapsulated “kawaii”, the Japanese word for “cute” – the “kawaii” culture emerged in this era, and Hello Kitty was a major contributor to this movement. In the decades since, more characters were born and more merchandise like clothes, video games, shows, and even theme parks were created. The fashion-side of the market came to prominence in the early 2000s and Sanriocore was a thriving, international aesthetic.

Characters that are a part of Sanriocore 

A visual of all the characters that are part of the Sanriocore Aesthetic

Common characters associated with Sanriocore iconically include the likes of Hello Kitty, as this was one of the founding characters for this style. Other characters include:

  • Pompompurin: The brown beret-ed golden retriever
  • My Melody and Kuromi: the white rabbits
  • The angelic Little Twin Stars,
  • Cinnamoroll: the chubby puppy named
  • Wish Me Mell
  • The black-eared Pochacco,
  • The penguin Tuxedosam,
  • The lamb My Sweet Piano,
  • The lethargic egg Gudetamam
  • Keroppi the green frog. 

Each of these characters has massive followings with their own stories, merchandise, and shows. The most famous character is Hello Kitty, her face has been printed on every type of garment known to man, but she is heavily featured on Y2K pieces. The Y2K look emerged in the early aughts when the Sanriocore aesthetic grew in popularity. Today, new pieces are produced to be reminiscent of this era in fashion, and vintage pieces are highly sought after. 

Sanriocore Key Pieces / Clothing and Accessories

Sanriocore fashion draws inspiration from various subcultures like Pastel Goth, Yanderecore, Softie, and Larme Kei to create a unique blend of cute, quirky, and edgy. Clothes and accessories in this aesthetic combine girly and playful with elements of darkness. Animal ear headbands, bow clips, and face stickers are commonly worn along with heavy blush and bandaids as accessories. Sanrio print tops and character-themed lolita dresses are popular choices. A common pairing is pastel sailor uniforms and knee-high socks. Footwear is bold and cartoon-like with platform shoes such as Mary-Jane or creepers. Plush accessories are a favorite, they include slippers, mini backpacks, plush jewelry, keychains, and phone accessories to complete the look. 

Sanriocore features cute make-up that is neutral, but a heavy blush is applied to the cheeks and nose-bridge. The nose-bridge is critical to the look, as it adds an innocent and cartoon-like character. Other additions of glitter, gems, and stickers play into this fun look. One element of the make-up that is very Y2K is lipgloss, as a heavy lip can weigh down the fun of the style. Nail art is a huge component of the style, it often includes the Sanrio characters complemented with pinks and other girly decals.

Hello Kitty Y2K Jacket

Hello Kitty Y2K jackets are a coveted piece for many avid Sanriocore fanatics. In your closet jackets are true statement pieces, getting your hands on a vintage Hello Kitty jacket or sweatshirt from the early 2000s can be difficult. Remakes of bomber jackets with Ms. Kitty White’s face are popular, other styles include letter print skinny coats, letterman jackets, denim trucker jackets, and velour zip hoodies. The color and style of the jacket can add a girly statement to your look, or a bold-edgy tone.

Hello Kitty Y2K Pants

Hello Kitty Y2K pants come in many shapes and sizes. In the early 2000s cargo pants, parachute pants, bedazzled velour sweatpants, low-cut denim, and oversized denim were all very popular styles. The application of Hello Kitty into the design as a decal or print brought the aesthetic of the pants from simply Y2K to Sanriocore. 

Hello Kitty Y2K Bag

Y2K bags come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and fabrics. A Hello Kitty bag can be tacked on to any Sanriocore look, or add a bit of fun to a simple outfit. It is important to state that the first ever piece of merchandise that featured Hello Kitty was a coin purse in 1974. Later on at the Hello Kitty merchandise height during the early 2000s, Y2K bags were typically on the smaller size, common styles include baguette bags, mini handbags, plush mini backpacks, printed totes, and underarm bags. Today these bags are still regularly produced with Hello Kitty on them, but vintage and collectible items from earlier decades are coveted. 


Sanriocore is an aesthetic that has emerged from the popularity of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty, and the emergence of “kawaii” in Japan. The cute and playful aesthetic derives much of its shapes and silhouettes from Y2K culture, creating many iconic Hello Kitty Y2K pieces like jackets, pants, and bags. Sanriocore is a unique and fun fashion expression that continues to grow in popularity among enthusiasts around the world.

FAQs of Sanriocore

Some key accessories include animal ear headbands, hair clips and bows, face stickers, lace socks, character-themed purses, platform shoes, mini backpacks, and other character themed merchandise like plushies, keychains, phone cases.
You can buy Y2K Hello Kitty clothing new or vintage, new clothes can be purchased directly through Sanrio (online or in-store) and through licensed retailers. Vintage items can be shopped through second-hand marketplaces like Ebay, Vinted, Depop, and PoshMark.
Sanriocore characters of course includes Hello Kitty, but also the following: Pompompurin, My Melody, Kuromi, Little Twin Stars, Cinnamoroll, Wish Me Mell, Pochacco, Tuxedosam, My Sweet Piano, Gudetama, Keroppi.

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