Monday, December 14, 2009

oh the shopping

every time i move to a new place (or return to an old one, for that matter), i am convinced that i have found the epicenter of materialism. the shopping obsession seems almost rabid as soon an one gets within 10 miles of a strip mall, emporium, outlet, whatever. when i lived in japan i always joked that shopping was the national pastime. i was sure there was no where on earth that could rival their love for spending. but now i'm not so sure...
backtracking a bit, i'm not saying that all shopping is a gross perversion of a stable economy, for there are a lot of positives as well. i mean, one of the most amazing experiences of my life was finding my way through the markets in egypt. the smells were so rich, a mix of the literal barrels of spices on display with the street food like sweet potatoes or grilled corn. and the markets stay open into the early hours of the morning as to avoid the stifling heat of the day. (and on a side note, being the only caucasain, and more importantly the only female, in an egyptian market at 2am leads to some interesting encounters. seriously.) but the markets were obviously the hub of social interaction, people more often chatting about their kids than whipping out a credit card. but this is hardly the norm. and im not trying to romanticize the mysterious "other" or anything, but its pretty hard to see anything but money pass between people at the average us or japanese mall.

(laptop sleeve/bag)

now i'm not trying to claim that i am somehow above all of this, because in truth this post is about some amazing articles that i have purchased here. i'm trying to say that before you bust out your wallet, try to think about what you are buying, if you really need it, and most importantly, where it came from. because where i am living now, i am drowning in knock off bags and generic fashion. its like a forever 21 factory exploded over the whole city. in general, i am so tired of seeing 100 of the same shirt that lacks any kind of individuality or expression. truth be told, before i moved to japan i thought fashion
was bunk, but i really started to see the self-expression that was allowed fashion in a society that sometimes tries to squelch individuality. but come on people, try buying from artists, small businesses, people who still put love into their designs. after wading through all of the crap here, i have found a few designers that i cant help but want to buy their goods, share them with my friends, and have back-ups for when those wear out. i know it sounds silly, and maybe there really isnt a difference between buying off the rack and searching out unique creations, but i
want to believe there is.
so here are a few pictures of bags i picked up from an awesome designer (wish i could post the name, but i'm not allowed). i love everything about them. the prints are beautiful and original, and the materials are all pvc (yay vegan!) and are constructed incredibly well. i've already been to the wholesale shop, and most of you can expect one for any upcoming holiday :P

but all of this being said, even though i feel all holier than thou because they are unique items from a local business, is it really all that different than trolling the aisles at wal-mart? probably not so much. and yes, i do get carried away sometimes, i mean, i could live very easily on 2 pairs of pants, a few t's, and maybe one suit. (although remember, i'm pretty close to that. all i own in the world fits on 8 boxes, 6 of which are all books). anyway, when i feel the urge to own some random article that i really dont need, i pick up thoreau's walden and read a couple of lines.

"perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old..."

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