Month: November 2009

Lacoste Croc: The Masses and Class


 

I found this great picture while flipping through Wallpaper magazine at Barnes and Nobles in Rittenhouse.

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Here’s a closer look:

b_mg_6880.jpghttp://www.yatzer.com/1767_fernando_and_humberto_campana_for_lacoste

I imagine this is what it would be like at a Lacoste crocodile family gathering (pardon me for my corny sense of humor).  Sibling designers Fernando and Humberto Campana teamed up with Lacoste to create limited edition shirts featuring their signature crocodile logo in a variety of designs.  In interviews, the brothers explained that they wanted to expand on the stuffed animal alligator chairs they created.

http://www.yatzer.com/1767_fernando_and_humberto_campana_for_lacoste

I find the intersection of craft and fashion to be very exquisite.  It opens my eyes to all sorts of unique creative opportunities (Damn!, I should have kept all those stuffed animals I won in the claw machines).  The fact that they were able to create a fabric from those little croc logos is mind blowing.  You can imagine the expertise, skill, and creativity involved to bring such a piece to life.  I also like that they are working to incorporate the concept of nature and the actual lifestyle of crocodiles into their work.

http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/crocodiles-have-built-in-navigation-defying-relocation/weird-science

The shirt also makes me think of the symbolic meaning of the Lacoste logo.  This crocodile serves as a status symbol, an indicator of wealth, an icon for style.  It reminds me of my father’s Lacoste shirts and how as  a child I thought it was so cute and silly (it seemed created solely for a child’s entertainment).  I wanted to rip it off and play with it – afterall it looked like a cartoon.  And I never understood why all my father’s polos had some animal on the front.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I was able to fully comprehend the perceived meaning of clothing labels.  I had to leave my small town and enter the world of boarding school to get my education on “name brands” and their hidden meanings.  Afterall, there is no better way to learn about money than being around the rich.

Then my mind goes to the lyrics of Biggie’s “Sky’s the Limit”, making me think of how clothing labels and status are explored throughout pop culture:

“A nigga never been as broke as me, I like that
When I was young I had two pair of Lees, besides that
The pin stripes and the gray (uh-huh)
The one I wore on Mondays and Wednesdays
While niggas flirt, I’m sewing tigers on my shirt
and alligators
Ya wanna see the inside, huh, I see ya later
Here come the drama, oh, that’s that nigga wit the fake, blaow!”

I read the interview with the Compana brothers where they are asked: “What does the crocodile logo mean to you?”  Their response: “Power.”  Maybe they were alluding to the strength of the crocodile.  But there is also the known social conditioning that teaches us to link clothing labels with socioeconomic status.  With those cute cartoons comes a serious side.  The side that attempts to reflect social status through one’s ability to spend.  The croc means money, and only those who have enough can get the “real” thing.  I am fascinated about how our very clothes are used to dictate ideas about us.  We judge others by their “cover” and call it human nature.  But there is nothing natural about it.  The powers that be in fashion decide what labels will rise to the top and which ones won’t.  They also decide what clothing embodies their idea of fashionable/ runway worthy.  And then these thoughts trickle down into the mainstream, where we are guided to make purchases.  These purchases then become so much more than finding materials to cover our body.  They become a definition of who we are, what we supposedly earn, and where we come from.  It’s important to remember this to stay grounded.  A label is nothing more then a label, human thought shapes how we react.  I hope fashion can take a turn toward focusing on comfort and function, along with creative design.  I plan to incorporate this into my own fashion line – fashion for the masses and all classes!  Let’s take away the power of spending and focus it on something more meaningful…like learning about crocs.  Here’s a picture from one of my favorite childhood memories: Gatorland (yeah they got the crocodiles too:)

Water Park

http://www.gatorland.com/

Let me leave you with this quote as some food for thought:

“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies…. It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”

~Albert Einstein

Read more about the Compana Brothers non-profit support at: http://blog.bola.info/2009/07/09/campanabrothers/

The Moments of Gratitude: Feeling Philly


 

I have to believe on days like today.  There is a force, an omnipresence, cloaking me in content, warmth, love, and guidance.  None of these things could be bad, in fact they are what I asked for.  So how can I not believe, what does it hurt?  Oh the struggles of an Agnostic Hindu!

I think of Brahma, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Mohammad, Jesus, Nature, Spirituality, Fate, Morality…and I know there is something pulling me to a greater purpose.  I know that my dreams can come true, only if I wish them.  Only if I think them, do they become possibilities, because without vision the picture’s hard to paint.

I moved to Philadelphia December 2005 – right around Christmas.  My then boyfriend accompanied me on this new beginning in a great city.  We shared an apartment in Gateway Towers.

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http://lindyproperty.com/communities/apartments/gateway/overview.html#

It was the first place I liked when searching online for apartments.  The biggest need we both had was parking.  And this building had it all – fitness center, free parking (lots all around the building), security, privacy, safety, and right next to FDR park.

 

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I was in love; and when I saw it, I knew it would be my new home.  There is this spirit, this aura that I feel whenever I enter a place that I know will make me truly content.  I loved the lacquered hardwood floors and the mirrors that made the spacious one bedroom feel even bigger.

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And I loved the view of the train tracks and sky.  It just felt peaceful.  Looking out there it made me feel like we couldn’t possibly be in a city and I was always amused by that.  I also loved the beautiful murals painted on them.

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Google Maps

I loved to take walks around the property, the park, and in the neighborhood.  I would have to say it must be the safest place in Philadelphia, being that it’s nestled in a great location.  This also made it not the most convenient to public transportation, which was the only downside.  But if I missed the bus, the 15 minute walk to the subway was a good workout.  The first year there I lucked out and found a job that included free parking.  I used to drive down 18th everyday in an attempt to bypass I-76 (later I gave in and took the highway).  But during those initial months of driving that road, I enjoyed the chance to take in the scenery.  The commute reminded me that I do live in a city.  The hustle bustle of downtown is like a surge of electricity: energizing me, exciting me, making me feel alive.  I would pass by the newly rehabbed properties, dreaming of home ownership, Graduate Hospital, Lombard Apothecary, and the most beautiful brownstone next to a church.  This was always the spot along the drive where I felt truly exhilarated.  I loved this quintessential image of the city.  The pictures of brownstones in magazines, movies, and books always drew me in.  I imagined living in one of those skinny buildings, crammed against my neighbors, close but far away.  I dreamt of walking through a park like Rittenhouse, cutting across to my cozy studio.  In the winter, when they would hang the Christmas lights my heart would melt.

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Barnes & Noble’s green awning conjured images of festivities and merriment.  The library was inviting, inspiring me with it’s amazing art book collection.  By the time I would turn down Arch St. to park, I was ready to face anything.  I needed my city fix, like a coffee addict needs their caffeine (coming from a former user).  Once I realized I-76 though slow,  was still the faster option, I gave up my 18th St. excursion; but I would venture that course every so often.

Since then I inched closer and closer to the city, dreaming of a day when I would live in my dream location.  But it always seemed like a stretch on my budget.  Somehow when I dreamed of my life in the city when I first arrived, Bhagwan and Fate heard.  They led me on my journey to happiness without me even realizing it.  So after Deep South, Point Breeze, and Callowhill, I was ready for my studio in the city.  I scoured Craigslist, Philadelphia Weekly, City Paper, and kept my eyes peeled for rental signs.  Each pocket of Philly has a different vibe, and in the city you’re paying for that special effect.  As a craft artist, Fabric Row would be my dream home, but nothing ever seems to be available around there.  So I looked East and West of Broad.  It was slim pickings, being off season.  The first place had a mini fridge which was a deal breaker (I like my leftovers)!  The next place was in a cute row home style building, on a tree lined street, steps from Rittenhouse.  It was small, and had a few cosmetic issues, but when I left I felt that feeling – this was home.  Something about the neighborhood was just magical.  It’s the same way I feel about Carrie Bradshaw’s street (from Sex and the City).  She steps out on her beautiful stoop, on a tree lined street, but she can turn the corner and feel the city beating and vibrating.  I continued to see a few more places, worried I might lose the studio, but I had to see the competition.  And the competition turned out to be stiff.  I mulled over it, and finally went with the place that called to my heart.  Something just told me this is where I was meant to be.  I called the leasing consultant, paid the deposit, and took the lease.  After that a permanent smile was glued to my face.  I couldn’t even contain it in the street so I let it permeate my whole being.  I would finally be a city dweller.  I think the most important thing is to feel gratitude for all that we really have and all that we can have.  It’s easy to go through the motions of living, yet not be alive within those moments.  We must attempt to savor each new change, because that is how we find the meaning of our life.  Believing this all the time, now that is the challenge, but worth the effort.  I feel blessed to be able to move to this great city, explore some of it’s different neighborhoods, and now be in the heart of it.

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From earlier in the day I decided I would treat myself to a movie, and I headed in a bit late to see New York, I Love You.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  I just got an apartment in the city I love, and I enjoyed watching my birthplace on the big screen.  NYC will always hold a special place inside me – no other city has that effect on me: it’s true love.  There was something magical about that short time in my life when I lived in NYC as a baby.  It got into my blood and it calls me everyday to return, and one day I will.  But Philly is now also part of me.  It’s the birthplace of my country and the start of so many amazing possibilities for me.  After the movie I floated home in a haze of glee.  When I arrived home I flipped through the pictures on my camera phone, followed by a virtual walk through my new neighborhood (courtesy of Google Maps Street View).  As I “walked” along 18th I started recognizing everything – the shops, the houses, the architecture.  It was not until that moment that I realized this was my old driving route I would be living on.  And that is when I saw the brownstone and the church, and tears welled in my eyes.  The same amazing sight 3 years ago, the place I fantasized about living near, I had ended up there unintentionally.  How did this happen without me even realizing it?  What was that feeling of finding my home?  What was that force that made sure I ended up there?  For some they might say nothing, must good planning and luck, but for me I can’t wholly believe that.  This deep notion lies in me, believing some force in this universe is leading me down my path; I paint the picture of my dreams and as I labor and love through this life, I end up exactly where I want to be.  The fantasy is now a reality, and gratitude is my gift to the universe.

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Now here’s a little music to get you in the city vibe.  Enjoy:)