Thursday, September 27, 2007

Counterfeit Design

During my recent vacation in Italy and Greece, I naturally spent A LOT of time shopping. I am kind of a clothing junkie and really like stores like Zara, Pull & Bear, Fred Perry, Prada and Diesel. I'm also absolutely fascinated by the (seemingly always) Senegalese guys that sell all the counterfeit products out on the street. It's really the cat and mouse game played between them and the cops that I most enjoy, but sometimes their wares are pretty amazing too.

In Venice I found it really amusing (and I should have photographed it) that these guys would set out their blankets with neatly lined up Prada and Louis Vuitton bags on the pedestrian street right in front of the real Prada and Louis Vuitton stores. They're ridiculousy fake looking to the trained eye, but they still had quite a steady clientele.

In Athens, the cat and mouse game was in full force. First off, there were tons more vendors with lots more product. Anything from the normal purses and wallets, to sunglasses and belts. Funny enough, as homogenous as Greece is, the conterfeit pushers had a fairly broad range of ethnicities. Oh sure, the main purse salesmen were still recent decendents from Senegal, but then you'd have these Sri Lankan guys selling lighted lighters, sunglasses, some not quite as fancy purses and well, flowers. There were some China-men too selling headmounted LED flashlights and dvds. Surprisingly, they were not selling fake purses or glasses even though China is where most of that stuff is actually made. Hmm.

Alright, I had a point in all of this, it was about counterfeit design. Again, anyone at all familiar with high end purses can detect with ease how bogus the bags are - even when they really do say Prada and not Panda or something. The glasses are even worse. Aside from being poorly made, they are probably dangerouse for our eyes to look through. Where am I headed you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It was the belts! Some of the belts were awesome! There were Gucci and Louis and Diesel and Fendi. But you know what were the best? Dolce & Gabbana. They were amazing! Look for yourself, I ended up buying 2 of them!

Actually, the whole point of my post is that the 2 fake belts I bought are actually cooler than any real D&G belts I've ever seen and ironically at a 1oth the price. And why you ask? Design, that's why. Whoever designed these did a really nice job, and thanks to them, I look awsome!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monocle Magazine

I had some time to kill in Athens airport on my way back from Greece last week, so naturally I browsed its fabulous collection of stores, spending both time and my last Euros, like every good American should. Anyway, I'm a huge sucker for a good magazine, especially anything fashion, art, design related. I know, these areas of interest of mine dont all quite go together, or so it would seem. However, as I was flipping through the racks of seemingly endless options, I happened upon a magazine called Monocle.

Calling it a mere magazine just doesn't give it enough credit. It's really more of a journal than anything, covering Affairs, Business, Culture and Design. Wow, finally a magazine for me! Historically I've been a GQ, Inc & Fast Company kind of guy, but this seems to fill some other needs and interests of mine and does so with a more global perspective. The articles are well written and really interesting and informative, as you'd expect from the folks that publish the Financial Times and Wallpaper.

Not sure how easy this magazine will be to come by outside of fancy airport newsstands, but if you come across it and have interests similar to mine, I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Aunt Virginia Romanou

I just returned from a short vacation to Greece to relax, re-energize and reconnect with my family. One relative I got to see and someone who I absoultely adore and admire as both a person and an artistwas my aunt Virginia, who I hadn't seen in too long (something like 5+ years). Virginia is an amazing artist and designer who has impeccable taste and endless energy! We feel more like siblings than aunt and nephew as it's so obvious we share the same blood.

I used to often wish that I could leave all I know behind and just move back to Greece to live with Virginia and her partner Yianni and just paint all day. As the years have passed and my design career has flourished, that need has faded, but having her and Yianni close by would really make for a more fulfilling life both personally and creatively. The 2 of them have been huge influences on me and my art (which neither of them know) and I long for the day that they can come see one of my shows or better yet, critique my work and give me some guidance with my own art and style.

I hope that it wont be 5 years before I see Virginia again, and I'm certain it wont. If all goes well, within a couple of years I'll be living and working in Europe, which would make things that much simpler. Anyway, I was so happy to see her, even if only for an evening and I'm glad that I can use my blog as a way to share some of my work with her, which could be the first time she's seen any of it! Thank you internet!