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Monday Mouse Watch: Will Disney's "Mickey By" program start a fashion trend in 2010?

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Monday Mouse Watch: Will Disney's "Mickey By" program start a fashion trend in 2010?

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We’ve all seen Mickey Mouse in this classic pose before, typically on a t-shirt.

Classic Mickey Mouse on a T-shirt
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

But here’s some food for thought: Would it cheese you off to see Mickey portrayed in this fashion?

Miceky made out of chesse
Photo by Jim Hill

Or – better yet – would it bug you to see Disney’s corporate symbol depicted in this manner?

Mickey Mouse made out of bugs
Photo by Jim Hill

Earlier this summer, attendees at this year’s Licensing International Expo got to see lots of different takes on Mickey Mouse. As these folks entered & exited the show floor at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, they couldn’t help but see the banners that were hanging overhead.

Mickey Mouse banners in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
Photo by Jim Hill

Not to mention all of those posters that covered the columns in the lobby area of the Mandalay Bay’s convention center. Which featured dozens of different interpretations of Disney’s main mouse.

Micky Mouse interpretations
Photo by Jim Hill

“And what was the point of this Mickey Mouse art display?,” you ask. Well, Disney Consumer Products was looking to get the word out about its exciting new initiative for 2010, the “Mickey by” program.

How many of you recall what DCP did back in 2003, when this branch of The Walt Disney Company created that line of clothing which – for a brief moment in time – were embraced by trendsetters? Mouse House execs loved seeing all of those pictures of celebrities wearing vintage Mickey Mouse t-shirts that popped up in fashion magazines worldwide. So they’re now out to make another run at that market.

Now where this gets interesting is that – for the “Mickey By” program – Disney Consumer Products is reaching out to well-known artists. Commissioning them to create their own unique take on the Mouse in this classic pose. Mind you, this is a global initiative – involving all sorts of different interpretations of Mickey Mouse – be they dimensional pieces of art …

3D art of Mickey Mouse
Photo by Jim Hill

… or posters that deliberately reference earlier works. Which then put Disney’s corporate symbol in a whole new light.

Mickey Mouse art
Photo by Jim Hill

DCP’s goal here is to build a library of bold new takes on Mickey Mouse that are sure to appeal to young adults. Consumer Products will then use these images as (I’m quoting directly from the DCP press release now. So please forgive the corporate speak) “… the foundation for fashionable applications across many product categories. “

Translation: You’re going to see the images that are produced by the “Mickey By” program reproduced on vintage t-shirts, handbags, pins & jewelry. Not to mention posters & cards. And did I mention that – through the Disney Store’s on-line shopping portal – you’ll also be able to personalize the apparel that you purchase by incorporating specially selected images from the “Mickey By” collection?

Of course, what’s kind of ironic here is that that this bold new DCP initiative (which could – in theory – generate tens of millions of dollars for The Walt Disney Company in 2010 and beyond) keys off of an image of Mickey Mouse that baby boomers first embraced back in the 1960s? And that image took its inspiration from the model sheets that Disney animators used to use while they were churning new Mickey Mouse shorts back in the late 1920s / early 1930s.

Talk about your clever corporate recycling programs.

Disney Recycling Campaing poster starring Mickey Mouse
Photo by Jim Hill

So what do you folks think? Based on what you've seen so far, will the "Mickey By" program actually start a fashion trend in 2010?

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  • Hmm, interesting idea. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

  • They couldn't start a fashion trend in 2000, or in 2001, or 2002, or 2003, 2004, 2005 or 2006, or even in 2007 -- the years that Andy Mooney has been promising that he'll sepnd a boatload of Disney's money to make Mickey HOT AND TRENDY again.

    Talk about barking up the wrong tree.  We want Mickey to be Mickey.  We want Donald to be Donald. We don't need or want them to be cool, "design-forward" (forward designs fall off the fashion cliff first) or really much of anything beyond cool Ts, nicely designed kids' clothes, and, yes, some occasionally cool graphics.  But think about the range of the family.

    I long heard Disney execs say they needed a way to get into Fashion Week and other design milestones.  With a couple of rare exceptions, Disney IS laughed off.  Disney is not highbrow in its designs.  It's been eight years since Mooney and his revolving-door team tried to turn Disney fashion into something it's not and will never be.  When will they learn?

  • Apparently I'm not a young adult anymore.  =(

  • those images were graceless, uninspired, and unappealing.  

    IvrThal had it right.  It's time for Mooney to stop attempting to turn classic cartoon images into boutique attire.  

  • I think part of it is concept. My sister is a fashion editor and with the way she picks on how I dress, I can't see her approving of a Disney presence at Fashion Week. Now, maybe some more evocative- in the vein of the Princess Wedding gowns... but I don't think Mickey can take the fashion world like he's Che.

  • 1) Mickey with Cheese Feet - love it

    2) Mickey made the bugs - intriguing

    3) Hero Mickey - traditional

    4) Recycle, Reduce, Reuse - downright creepy!

  • Your story was featured in DisMarks! Here is the link to vote it up and promote it: http://dismarks.com/Media/Jim_Hill_Monday_Mouse_Watch_Will_Disneys_Mickey_By_program_start_a_fashion_trend_in_2010

  • YAWN

  • The bug one was cute...

  • Oh, I like Bug Mickey too. Showed it to my aunt (she loves ladybugs) and my mom... they liked it... But if Disney's looking for the fashion geeks, I think it's Broadway all over again except a number of Bway ppl realized that it could be a gateway to theatre. Fashion? Oh everyone wants to buy their cr, er, stuff *rolls eyes*

  • I'm not too big on fashion...  however, I would rather love to see some much more fashionable stuff out there for men being made.  Women seem to have the vast majority of the Disney fashion done.   Men?   Well, most of what we can get make us look like a tourist.

    What they need to do is get into the middle ground.  They did *some* decent attempts via Hot Topic with more cult and current pop culture items, but they need to go maybe more of a trendier, but not out of touch, outlet.   Maybe something towards the trendier, more mainstream, mall stores, like Abercrombie or Pac Sun? Even the clothes that Target tends to have (Mossimo et al.) would be a lot more of what they should aim for...   Fashion Week type trendiness is just WAY too out of touch with most of humanity.

  • Disney clothing = grandma clothing.  Just look at the Disney Store...people my age DON'T wear embroidered cartoon characters on clothing (or personalized for that matter).  I will say that some of their more recent 80's inspired t-shirts at the park have been cool but most of their product is just unhip and uncool.  

  • More idiotic crap from Mooney. I wish they'd give that joker the boot.

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