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A familiar face from our childhood has made a stylish reappearance in our adult lives. Miffy has returned — although she never really left — this time, showing up in designer collaborations.
Miffy has been around since 1955, designed by Dutch artist Dick Bruna and featured in children's picture books and decades later, in a string of television series including Miffy and Friends. She's known for her limited colour palette of a dark red, blue, yellow and green, as well as her humble dress and cross-shaped mouth. While Miffy might have been forgotten by many, she's made a triumphant return with a dedicated fanbase that loves her cute aesthetic and charming simplicity.
Last December, Tommy Hilfiger announced its new collection with the sweetheart rabbit, citing Miffy's minimalist aesthetic and dedication to primary hues as the main attraction for the partnership. "Miffy embodies many of our brand values: being adventurous, open to new experiences and having a relentlessly positive attitude," said the titular designer of the "perfect blend of playful-meets-prep" within the 50 new pieces. Mulberry joined in on the fun a month later, with a 24-piece capsule series featuring the bunny on the company's luxurious handbags.
These Miffy collabs are timed perfectly for Lunar New Year, landing on January 22 this year and marking the Year of the Rabbit, which last took place in 2011 and 1999. In the Chinese zodiac, the animal represents luck, wit and optimism, promising a swift and present year ahead. Naturally, it made sense to get Miffy on board to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit in style.
It's also not the first time we've seen Miffy show up in the fashion world, having paired with Converse in 2021 for a capsule of its iconic sneakers emblazoned with the adorable rabbit, while Ghostly International and Pop Trading set the trend three years earlier in limited edition releases. The Chinti and Parker collaboration featuring bright Miffy jumpers and shirts first popped up in 2016, but new releases are still being dropped on Farfetch to this day.
But the cult of Miffy has been around for even longer, sparking whimsical nostalgia for kids and adults alike. It seems that Miffy's overlords are on top of the craze, moving their products from the children's aisles to products designed for adults across the board. Be it DIY accessories or homewares, the sweet rabbit is dominating wardrobes and rooms around the world.
"Over the past 12 months, I’ve definitely seen the rise of Miffy love, mostly on social media," says Miffy aficionado and Refinery29 Australia Living & Wellness Writer Maggie Zhou, who explains why the appeal exists beyond just fashion. "Her classic design — that’s stayed relevant for 68 years — is something to behold. The simple block colours and curved lines are quintessentially Dutch. I almost feel like her recent collaborations with brands and timing of her rising popularity has been a happy coincidence, rather than a strategic choice because she is a rabbit," she shares.
On TikTok, unboxing videos of Miffy plushes and paraphernalia garner hundreds of thousands of views, while vlogs of creative projects dedicated to the beloved rabbit help others recreate their own versions at home. Meanwhile, decked-out Miffy room tours capture decor pieces and extensive stuffed toy collections.
@minxngyn love the simple backpack design #fypシ #miffy #haul #unboxing #aesthetic #kinokuniya #miffyandfriends ♬ banana shake - moved
Zhou is in for the long haul when it comes to Miffy, having loved her for years. She is even planning on visiting the rabbit's hometown in Utrecht, The Netherlands this year. Her dedication means that she sometimes feels a little "gatekeepy" when it comes to Miffy, explaining that for a lot of Miffy fans, the love will continue outside of the current trend. Nevertheless, Zhou understands the sudden hype over the rabbit.
"I think — bear with me — she’s an unproblematic fave. I also think her sweet aesthetic is widely loved across time and different cultures," says Zhou. "She’s often mistaken for Japanese; I agree that she’s kawaii! But Miffy’s rise in popularity is mirrored by the general trend of kitschiness and the 'weird girl' aesthetic, which is heavily influenced by Japanese culture — I think of Melbourne stores like Hello Sisi and Pinkys, which specialise in quirky trinkets."
Miffy' second rise to fame comes at a time when other animated mascots dominate our newsfeeds, screens and shopping baskets: think Hello Kitty's enduring appeal, old Moomin clips being recirculated online and the sudden fascination with Kewpie dolls and Sonny angels. So it makes sense that people have hopped on board the Miffy train too, taking in the escapism, simplicity and novelty that she brings.
"Anthropomorphic characters have made up a big part of our childhoods, but also feed into modern-day pop culture (think Minions, The Bee Movie, Ratatouille)," concludes Zhou. "I think a general curiosity and attraction to cuteness is quite common, and it's nice to get excited about something that's low-stakes and comforting."