Dissecting LOEWE’s recent merchandise collaboration with “Spirited Away”

The LOEWE Susuwatari Mini Puzzle Bag modeled. Photo by Juergen Teller.

SAN JOSE, CALIF.— Spanish luxury brand “LOEWE” released a stunning collection of clothing, handbags and accessories featuring characters from Hayao Miyazaki’s coming-of-age film “Spirited Away” on Jan. 7, 2022, and holds more significance than it appears to. The collection was made available online and in select stores, selling out almost immediately. 

The “LOEWE X Spirited Away” collection featured a whopping total of 111 items. The items were stylishly themed with characters from the movie, some of them being female protagonist Chihiro, beloved male co-protagonist Haku, iconic antagonist Yubaba and the adorable Soot Sprites. Of these items, the most recognized were the Susuwatari Mini Puzzle Bag in a gorgeous blue with mint hue at $2,400, the Kaonashi (No-Face) Small Hammock Bag retailing for $2,990 and the classy, minimalist Chihiro high-neck sweater priced at $1,700. 

The Chihiro High-Neck Sweater from the LOEWE x Spirited Away collection.
Photo by LOEWE via loewe.com

So what does this collaboration mean for the fashion and anime world? Tiktok creators with fashion expertise commenced great excitement and satisfaction towards the collaboration, with a majority of them only complaining about how difficult it was to secure a piece from the collection online. These fashion critics were aware of what to expect, as LOEWE released a successful previous collection of Totoro-themed pieces, also in partnership with Studio Ghibli films earlier last year. 

“Spirited Away” remains the second highest-grossing anime today, despite being released in 2003. This coming-of-age film is a first-time anime and memorable childhood film for many, such as myself. The themes of “Spirited Away” reflect on the willpower it takes to adapt to an unprecedented world and what it means to mature away from your parents. “Spirited Away” is a work of art in every aspect it can be seen, and as LOEWE took the film’s visuals to incorporate into their merchandise, the aspect of physical art was introduced. To think an anime released more than two decades ago could grow to become so impactful truly enunciates the power of collaboration.

Silver Creek freshman and Studio Ghibli lover Jacklyn Luu also speaks highly of the film, referring to it as her comfort movie. She admires Chihiro and Haku’s relationship largely. Her favorite pieces of the collection include the Chihiro high-neck sweater, Intarsia sweater, and the Susuwatari scarves. She wrote, “Spirited Away is one of my all-time favorite movies. The pure relationship between Chihiro and Haku makes me so happy. It’s one of my go-to movies whenever I’m feeling down.”

I found an element to love about every piece in the collection, but not one element was its price. Being a luxury brand, LOEWE caters to the upper class. All the pieces in this collection range from $222 to $6,400, the cheapest item being a candle and the most expensive being a sweater. Although envy will forever seep in me for those who were able to secure the beautiful pieces a part of this collaboration, it is refreshing to see tastefully crafted and impactful merchandise come out of the fashion industry in partnership with such an iconic, worthwhile anime. 

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