Pokémon Boutique opens at JapanLA for Pokémon 20th Anniversary

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It’s hard to believe that Pokémon is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Saturday, February 27th, fans all across the United States celebrated “Pokémon Day” by visiting different locations like GameStop, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Nintendo New York. If you lived in Southern California, you could also visit JapanLA: Japanese Pop Culture for the Pokémon Boutique grand opening event.

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This was the second time that JapanLA hosted the Pokémon Boutique, and like last year, you’d want to be there hours early if you wanted to get in as soon as possible. Fans lined up as early as 2 p.m. to be the first inside the shop. By 6 p.m. (when the store was set to open), the line was already down the block and around, and for those who stepped inside, they got to see a great assortment of different Pokémon collectibles, accessories, plushies and even some beautifully designed outfits featuring what else? Pokémon.

While you could have spent your morning at Toys’R’Us to get your New Nintendo 3DS Pokémon 20th Anniversary Edition system and/or 20th Anniversary Pokémon TCG cards or go to GameStop to be a part of the Pokkén Tournament early access, Japan LA was the only place you could find a few items including some beautiful jewelry and a free special tote bag if you made a purchase of $30 or more.

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It’s a nice collection of Pokémon merchandise in one place, something I’d love to see more often. I’ve always thought a Pokémon Center would be great to have in Southern or Northern California, and these mini ones just show how passionate the fans are.

Shortly after the opening, we had a chance to talk with the Director of Licensing at The Pokémon Company International, Monika Salazar, about the big push in fashion and what fans can expect in the future.

Nerd Reactor: Back in June, we had our first introduction to the Pokémon Boutique filled with different fashion pieces. How did it all come together?

Monika Salazar: JapanLA works closely with our design team, who creates a style guide with assets. We also follow a lot of fashion trends, so we like to make sure that each capsule collection that we’ve created will speak to an audience in a different and new way. We keep evolving the fashion, like Pokémon. So last year’s offerings were very pastel colored. This year we are going a little brighter with pops of neon featuring the different evolutions of Eevee.

NR: The Pokémon series has ‘evolved’. Those, like myself, who were first introduced to it when they were kids are now adults, and many of those adults are sharing that experience with their children. How does that impact how you market and create items for both sides?

Monika Salazar: I think it’s a journey, and it’s part of the 20th celebration that we are having this year. It was part of me coming to Pokémon, to accept this Director of Licensing position, in order to do this. Pokémon speaks to everyone, and there is something in the market. There is a white space and I believe that Pokémon will be the next iconic fashion lifestyle brand, and we are already embarking on that journey as you can see today.

 

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NR: What are your thoughts on the ‘evolution’ of Pokémon fashion?

Monika Salazar: That it will be embraced by women all around the world, sophisticated, elegant, and elevated. I would love to see Pokémon Couture on the runway, or a fashion week, or even at the Oscars.

NR: One thing a lot of fans love, and many are doing at this event, is cosplaying as their favorite Pokémon character or Pokémon. Are there any plans to expand the clothing line, or add items to help with cosplay outfits and accessories?

Monika Salazar: Yes, we are actually working on that right now. We’ve just signed on a lot of really amazing licensees, and part of our criteria for signing on licensees is that they are really clever, creative and collaborative. They work with our design team to come out with the next best trending things. Hot Topic right now does carry a lot of our cosplay items, but there is more to come.

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The Pokémon Boutique pop-up shop at JapanLA: Japanese Pop Culture will be open until March 27th and is located at 7320 1/2 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046.

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.