Archive for the ‘Lisa’ Category

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Group Cultural Code for Czech Republic

June 4, 2010

We started our group cultural code from puppets, goulash, cartoons, etc. Rather than figuring out the cultural code with metaphor, in the end, we came to functionality.

The functionality in fashion world is rooted in Czech people’s daily lives two decades ago. Before the revolution in 1989, under the rule of Communism, people dressed according to clothes’ practicality. Communism supports the core value of “being equal” and everything should be cheap. In other words, brands and to be good-looking are not their most important concerns during clothes purchasing, because everyone should dress according to what they need and where they work.

Men's Overall

For example, men rarely wore T-shirt and jacket in the past. However, they usually just wore overall, which is easier for them to work in the factory or farm. Also, for women, they often wore scarves, which helps to prevent dirts during working. So, before the revolution, on the one hand, Czech people didn’t have a lot of choices for clothes. On the other hand, their mindset and the culture indicated them to dress functionally and practically.

With the twenty-one years development till now, people have gained a lot of freedom for purchasing clothes and other fashion products. But it’s hard for them to change their shopping habits and mindsets immediately, especially for old generations. Most Czech people still live in small towns. It’s not that convenient to reach a lot of international brands. Also, according to the average income in Czech, a large number of people can’t really afford them. So they are loyal to local brands, markets and independent shops and functionality is still the key factor they will take into account during purchasing. In some sense, international fashion brands are just a symbolism of free market after revolution.

Everyone we’ve talked to has stressed the divide between the old generation and the new generation. Not only do these two groups of Czech people have different memories of the change in the country, but they have vastly different perceptions on fashion and shopping. The older generation is very traditional. They are loyal to local markets and shops. They don’t see the need to change their habits and don’t have an enormous desire to buy expensive fashion. The younger generation, however, is slowly but surely adapting to the new shopping experience. Hypermarkets and mega-malls are attracting more and more people as the younger Czech generation is becoming more interested in name-brand clothing. Young girls enjoy getting together with their friends and going shopping for a day, while the older generation still prefers shopping in local markets by their homes.

Sitting outside of Tesco, Lisa noticed something that contributed specifically to the culture code we chose. The Czech consumer’s process of leaving the Tesco was pretty unique. As many people exited the store, they immediately reorganized their purchases, and analyzed everything they had bought that day. We thought this routine action was really interesting because Czech people spend so much time choosing products pre-purchase, and now they were still analyzing those purchases even after they had been made. The shoppers would come out, look at their receipt, and refer back to the things that they bought one by one. One older man even stopped, took his glasses out of his case, looked over his receipt for about ten minutes, took them off, put them in the case, and then carried on with his day. This man probably brought those glasses along with him for exactly that purpose, which means that he does it every time he goes shopping. From these observations, we came up with the subject of Czechs as very price sensitive and interested in quality. Czech people will only buy something if the product’s inherent value is worth just as much, if not more, than the price that they are paying. It’s not that Czechs won’t pay a lot of money for something, but when they do, they will be sure that what they are buying is worth every crown it costs. As we learned through conversation with some of the staff at Garp, once a year, there is a huge sale for designer labels that Czech fashion magazines create special issues for. In these magazines are coupons for these sales. Czech consumers interesting in buying high-end brands will often wait all year for this sales period because it is when they will get the best deal.

It was interesting to understand Czech’s without knowing the language, but we used our resources with the English-speaking people at the agencies we visited and our assistant Honsa. Through our discussions with those people we realized a huge difference in American culture and Czech culture when it comes to brands. In the suburban America we know well it is common for people to buy a North Face just to buy a North Face. When it comes to Czech culture they care more about the price, quality and functions a jacket would perform for them. If it happens that North Face fits all the things they are looking for then so be it, but brand is not a primary part of their choices.

Czech people dress for the specific occasion they will be in. First and foremost, the weather condition and the amount of time they will be outside affects what they’re going to wear. Comfortable shoes are necessary if the walk to work is a long one. They’ll put on a coat if it’s cold, and not worry about whether or not it 100% matches their ensemble. Men don’t wear nice jackets, blazers, or shirts unless they’re going to a wedding, funeral, or other dressy occasion. Since many Czech people own cottages for weekend excursions, mountaineering clothing stores are very popular. Therefore, the ridiculously expensive pieces of clothing that don’t really serve a purpose are disregarded. This might be why there are not a lot of fashion ads. The Czech people don’t need to purchase the clothing, so they won’t appreciate the ad. They dress for a very specific, functional purpose.

Another one of the major points we observed was that practicality if very important to Czechs. Practicality goes hand in had with functionality because Czechs want to purchase clothing that is not only functional in the sense that it works best for them but also what they buy and where they shop needs to be practical and convenient for them as well. Clothes that make day-to-day life easier and comfortable are essential, since walking and public transportation are popular in the Czech Republic, residents are going to want clothes and shoes that are comfortable for walking and traveling. It doesn’t make sense for Czechs to wear some of the trends that may be popular in other parts of the world because they are not practical for them.

However, just because the Czechs may not be following all the latest cutting edge fashions and trends, it doesn’t mean that they are not concerned with how they look. Czechs still want to look good and look put together. While we observed that Czechs walking down the street may not have been as chic and sophisticated as the trend setters in London, they still looked like they thought about what they put on in the morning. The main point to take away about Czechs and looking good is that they go about looking stylish in a different way than other cultures. Czechs are not going to follow trends that are not practical and functional in their day-to-day lives activities. Also they are not going to splurge on trends that are overly expensive either because spending a large portion of their income is not practical either. Czechs are concerned with being practical in their clothing choices but also concerned with looking and feeling good about what they wear.

Overall, our cultural code for fashion in Czech is functionality. In some sense, the role of functionality also explains why there is almost no fashion advertising in Czech Republic. In this small market, for Czech people, fashion doesn’t stands for brands, but functions.

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Czech Please!

June 4, 2010

It’s time to cash in our Crowns and start making our journeys back to the good ol’ U S of A. I have to say, this experience flew by, and it’s really sad to see it end. The good news is that I’ve learned a ton about European culture codes in a way I never have before, and I got a really good feel for different kinds of Advertising firms. It has given me a lot of clarity about where I can see myself in this industry in my career. Anyway, back to fashion tracking.

What I have learned:

Regardless of conditions, Czech people want to dress well with what they can afford. It is important to look your best, especially when spending time with other people outside of the home. The average annual income in the Czech Republic ranges from 12,000-15,00o USD. This obviously plays a factor in the priorities on what typical Czech people spend their money on. However, one important thing to note about Czech style is that because they have less money to allocate to fashion, they need to be more creative. Not only do Czech consumers look at a piece of clothing for what it is on its own, but it also needs to be able to go with a lot of other things the consumer already owns. Style is becoming more international as the years go on. In rural areas of the Czech Republic, there would be more of a separation from this trend, and people’s fashion in those areas would be based even more upon practicality.

Up until the revolution in 1989, purchasing abilities were limited. Services within the store were not very good, and sales people were not friendly at all. Sales people at that time viewed your interest as an annoyance. For example, they would be annoyed with having to put back something that you tried on. They also had no motivation sell things, because it wasn’t like they were working on commission; they were lazy. Being greeted first upon walking into that store was unheard of at that time. After the revolution, things like hypermarkets were able to come into existence. The shopping experience for the consumer became a much more pleasant experience. There was a new freedom of shopping that hadn’t existed before. Now, a family can spend half of the day at the hypermarket. If a pair of shoppers wants to spend three hours in one store trying on clothes, the sales person would not be bothered. In the past two years specifically, smaller stores are regaining popularity over hypermarkets and big malls. Shoppers like going to places that they can have a relationship with, like a local pub. If you compare goods in stores like Zara, the prices are almost double the cost from what it would be somewhere else; the Czech Republic has a large price index in comparison. For example, people view McDonalds as a symbol of freedom after the revolution in 1989; it is a pleasant place with nice people and clean toilets. In these cases, the Czech consumer pays a lot of money unreasonably, but because of the Czech culture codes, McDonalds markets to these consumers differently simply because Czechs use their services in a different way.

A little bit about the Czech people:

For Czechs optimism seems insincere. For example, the question “How are you?” could be asked as you walk into a friend’s house. In the States, you would say, “I’m good, you?” “Same here.”- this would seem as insincere to a Czech person. In the Czech Republic, your common response would be along the lines of, “Oh, I’m getting by.” or “Life is shit, but I am surviving.”

%90 of Czech people live outside of Prague. Average people shop in markets nearby. Supermarket brands satisfy needs very well.

Czech people want to show off what they have, but not verbally. Maybe they’ll let their nice watch show on their wrist in a way you’d notice, but they would never call you and brag about it. Boasting is done in a more visual way.

I’m really going to miss Prague, hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back.

Until then,

Děkuji and Na shledanou !

~ Lisa

“History is the key to everything: politics, religion, even fashion.” -Eva Herzigova

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London’s ASDA v. Prague’s TESCO

June 4, 2010

ASDA-

Thinking back about ASDA, I didn’t really have a good grasp on what it means to be an ethnographer. Consequently, most of my observations were visual, but I still think there is some substance in that.

The shoppers and layout of the entire ASDA store were scarily parallel with that of Walmart. For the most part, ASDA’s customers seemed uninterested in fashion. I observed mostly women by themselves shopping for food and clothing. Many of the customers were overweight, and ranged in age to appear between 30-60 years old. There was a food section where people could stop and get lunch, and seperate sections outside of the groceries for men’s women’s, and children’s clothing along with shoes. With the clothing, I noticed that there weren’t any imitation brands. For example, at Walmart you’d find polo shirts with little logos that obviously resemble those of big name brands like Abercrombie and Fitch’s moose or the eagle from American Eagle Outfitters. This could be because English people will buy a lable if they can afford it, but if they can’t, they won’t make a big deal about it and try to pretend to be the kind of consumer that they’re not.

ASDA had three different kinds of carts: huge ones, mid-size, and baskets. In the US we basically just have big carts or tiny baskets. I have never thought about it this way, but maybe the reason why we don’t have the mid-size cart is because when people go shopping it is usually to grab one or two things or to do the shopping for the whole week or even longer. Put simply, we buy more. I know that my mom shops this way, especially at Costco.

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TESCO-

In Prague, we visited an enormous Tesco; it had two floors. Having improved my skills as an Ethnographer, I really made the effort to use all of my senses to experience Tesco. I left with no pictures, which was my main focus at ASDA.

What I heard: Clanging of shopping carts. A continuous, high pitched, incessant, annoying beep. I assumed I wasn’t the only one annoyed by this sound. It was a universally annoying beep. People dragging their feet to make a swoosh noise. I used to drag my feet a lot. Sean Paul, an American reggae/hip-hop artist, was playing on the radio throughout the store; I certainly did not expect that. Followed by that song, came a pop song in the Czech language, so I felt like I was back in Prague again. Another sound that reminded me of the supermarkets from the states was the unmistakeable sound of a noisy, clanky freezer when you open the door to grab your ice cream. Over the announcements I heard a girl speaking in czech, and though I couldn’t understand her, she was speaking very quickly in a low monotone voice, just like the typical supermarket announcement sounds in the US.

What I smelled: By the bread isle, there was an unmistakeable smell of sweet, freshly baked bread with poppy seeds. It makes you think of your grandma. As I walked by the stands of wrapped products and grocery bags, you could really smell the plastic. Personally, I love this smell. I can remember smelling it when I was five years old because I, to this day, always serve as my mom’s grocery helper and go shopping with her. The leafy basil leaves that hit me out of nowhere in the produce section reminded me of the garden in my back yard. The strong smell of cured meat by the deli section reminded me of the exact smell of my friend Marta’s house. Marta’s parents are polish immigrants, so they cook a lot of traditional dishes using the same type of meat.

What I tasted: There wasn’t a whole lot in Tesco for me in terms of taste. There was a bowl of salt on a table that I tried. I sat for a while to see what purpose a random bowl of salt would provide by watching other shoppers use it, but no one ever approached that lonely bowl of salt.

What I felt: The first ethnographic observation that I had was something I definitely would not have consciously noticed before, the cold air on my ankles as I walked down an empty frozen food isle. Once I had noticed it, I got goosebumps. The other major observation in terms of feeling I felt has to do with personal space. As I mention in my “what I saw” section, people are not very apologetic about bumping their baskets or carts into another person. The personal space bubble here is definitely a lot smaller than what I am used to, but I thought it was kind of fun. You know that you’re really being immersed into a different culture in those moments where you feel uncomfortable; those are usually the moments when you would learn the most.

What I saw: Everyone was digging through the produce, putting their hands on everything. There was a huge bread pile where I watched some people dig for the most perfect, largest rolls. I also noticed the look of approval or accomplishment on each shopper’s face as each winning bread roll was placed into their bags. People were walking pretty briskly through the store, not taking their time until it was time to choose their “winning” produce. The way a lot of the shoppers were holding their baskets was pretty loosely and carelessly, and the baskets often banged into the displays and other people, same goes for the carts. There was a woman who was holding three shopping bags, one basket full of groceries, and two frozen pizzas under her arm. This gave me the impression that she was using the hypermarket to kill three birds with one stone for her day or week’s shopping. She was too busy to even grab a cart. Maybe she thought that she was going to be in and out, and ended up buying more than what was expected. On the opposite trend, I noticed several women who were shopping with grocery lists written on paper. Perhaps they have already seen the prices and have coupons for certain brands. This all plays into the idea of how Czech people are price sensitive. Sitting outside of the Tesco, I noticed people would stop and go over all of the things they bought, and carefully go over their receipts to look at what they had spent for what they’d gotten.

~Lisa

”Only great minds can afford a simple style.”
-Stendhal (One of the most original and complex French writers of the 19th century)
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Prague Fashion

June 2, 2010

This is my first fashion blog in Prague (that rhymes haha). On a more serious note, putting aside my potential career as a rapper, I think that I have improved as an ethnographer here in Prague and have come up with some interesting insights. For this post, I will be discussing some observations between the higher end stores on Parizka street (Paris Street in Czech).


Differences between Prada, Burberry, and Lacoste

Prada: As soon as we walked in Prada, I noticed the music. The music had a slick, mellow, cool vibe to it. The young man was wearing a fitted tux, and the sales woman inside was also dressed in well-fitted, upscale attire. The staff in general did not seem very welcoming to us, and they did not do very much to ask about our interest in the products. Even when we pretended that we were considering buying one of the pairs of $500 sunglasses, we were not approached or spoken to. The salespeople were not conversing with one another either. Literally, all you could hear were the smooth trance beats of the music playing in the store. I noticed that when the people I was with and I would have a conversation, we all seemed to talk a bit softer, and quiet speaking is not common for our group. There weren’t any mannequins in the store. Every item was in its own section, and shelved and displayed on its own. There weren’t very many items on display that were in multiples, meaning if you wanted something you’d have to go ask for it and have the sales person get it from the storage room. By the shoe section there was a very posh-looking suede, lilac couch. In terms of the items themselves, a lot of them displayed very gaudy labels of the name “Prada” shown off. Perhaps this reflects Czech people and how they shop. Czechs don’t like to talk about their things. They would rather prefer to show them off in a way people can see than having them hear about it.



Burberry: Walking into Burberry was a pleasant experience. It is a very high end store, but the staff was very friendly. The music was more pop radio based, and gave more of a light, easy-going mood. As soon as the customer walks into the store, they are greeted by the staff at the fragrance counter. Customers were encouraged to stand there and try out the new fragrances without any negative vibes from the staff; when we did this in Prada the staff acted annoyed. The way that the staff was dressed was nice, but definitely not wearing tailored suits. The Walls were all white, and mannequins within the store were present and adorned in the Burberry clothing. Burberry’s signature pattern is prevalent in much of their apparel, but I think it is done in a more tasteful way and goes along with the brand.

Lacoste: Upon walking into Lacoste, it seemed pretty dead. I really had to stop and pay attention to the type of music playing in the store, and it was just some light, classic rock. The walls were painted solid white and solid lime green, which was completely on brand with Lacoste. The whole vibe of the clothing and what the one sales person was wearing was sporty. The sales girl was wearing a polo, and was not really engaging, maybe she just didn’t speak the language. Lacoste did not have a smell, nor did it have many things that stuck out to me as an ethnographer outside of visuals. Everything was folding. Leaving the store, I felt neither positive nor negative emotions about my experience there, mediocre emotions. The most liveliness came from the window displays that depicted young models jumping into the air.


~Lisa

“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it’s an open mind.” -Gail Rubin

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Group Culture Code Wrap-Up of the UK

June 1, 2010

Yiting: Mixture

The mixture of fashion world in UK reflects its variety of products, brands, shopping environments, consumers’ different attitudes toward fashion, as well as their shopping and consumption habits. British people are quite comfortable to embrace various trends and styles in fashion. Even though they might not like all of them, they choose to embrace them rather than judge. So in some sense, it is the openness of the embracing in fashion that make British people to dress and do shopping more confidently. Moreover, they enjoy the re-designing their own pieces with out-of-dated fabrics and accessories.

Besides, as an island country in Europe, in UK, the mixed culture originated from the immigrants and tourists from different cultures drives brands in fashion industry to mix the British vintage styles with the modern trends, which plays a vital role in reaching more audiences.  Moreover, in UK, there’s a wide choices of shopping environment, including high-end department store, middle-level stores and flea market. Especially, the flea market provides more opportunities for the communication between salesperson and consumers about products and brands.

Lauren: Individuality

My culture code for the UK is individuality. While there were drastic differences between Manchester and London in styles, trends, and shopping habits I felt that both cultures placed a heavy weight on the individual  and being true to who you are. In London people followed the trends but added their own twists to the trends. They weren’t afraid to mix it up and try something new and different. Also people stayed true to themselves regardless of class. People that could afford nice things would defiantly splurge and buy high end designers and brands. Even those in the lower and middle class stayed true to themselves. You didn’t see any lower cost brands trying to emulate higher end brands. The stores themselves also stayed true to what they were and were all very individual and unique. Each store gave the shopper an individual shopping experience different from other stores and brands. I think in both London and Manchester individuality was an important quality to the people, fashions, and stores.

Suz: Confidence

If I could describe UK Fashion in one word I would pick confidence. There is a vibrant blend of colors and styles represented in London fashion.  I saw confidence in women 40+ shopping in the same stores I like to shop in, and from what I gathered by the numbers, shopping for themselves.

There was a confidence in the pieces that people chose to put together.  As mixed as they may have been, they always looked great because they wore their outfits with confidence.  I have never seen a guy with a zip up hoodie under a blazer…but it looked great.

The other strong notion of confidence i saw was in terms of body.  There was a sense of beauty within each person because I saw people rocking outfits that showed off their curves.  There was a comfort with their own bodies that you don’t normally see and it made them even more beautiful.

There were subtle hints towards the fact that people chose their outfits because they liked what they were wearing…and if they were the only people that agreed with it, it was ok.  I’m not saying people were poorly dressed because that is exact opposite of what we saw in London.

We saw a warped sophistication, with a twist of their own style, and with that I say Londoners are a confident bunch.
Lisa: Contrast

My individual culture code for UK fashion was contrast. The two most common types of contrast were between mixing old vintage with new and mixing different prints and textures of fabrics together. One way that the Brits differ from consumers in the US is that they have a lot less room to put their “stuff”. Accessories are a great way to tie two contrasting pieces together, and they play a huge role in UK fashion. It is not a part of UK culture to accumulate huge amounts of clothing generally, or large amounts of anything for that matter. Think about the amount of money people spend hiring organizers for their closets or buying storage units for their extra things; this is not a phenomenon that typically exists in the UK. For example, instead of buying a whole new spring wardrobe, someone from the UK would go out shopping looking for a few newer, trendy things that would go with something that they already have in an interesting way, or maybe that person would go to a thrift store looking for these pieces.

Here are a few examples I found of contrasts in UK fashoion:

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“That is the key of this collection, being yourself. Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live. ” – Gianni Versace

Jeannie: Embracing and Loving the Unique

London was a great place to observe styles and trends because almost everyone had their own distinct style. While there were some patterns, I noticed that everyone had their own spin on the idea. Uniqueness is key. The mannequins in the store windows featured layers and mixtures of clothing, the stores themselves had wide varieties of trends, and I never saw an outfit repeated twice. Even if someone was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, they would add a piece of flair (brightly colored shoes, an interesting necklace, a colorful bag, etc) to spice up the outfit. Shoppers only carried a few items around with them and purchased what was true to their style because they were comfortable and true to their own unique fashion sense. They didn’t shop in large, busy groups – they were calm, collected, and accustomed to shopping for pieces that they wanted. London shoppers embrace not only their own unique style, but also everyone else’s.

Group Culture Code: Gin Martini

After brainstorming and bouncing ideas around, our group decided that the culture code for fashion in UK was Gin Martini. We were inspired by our visit to Vinopolis. We learned about Bombay Sapphire Gin and how London Gin, mixology, and bar tending were such a huge part of London’s culture and history. Therefore, we believe that Martini is the perfect cultural code to reflect fashion in the UK for several reasons.

The stores, consumers’ shopping behaviors and attitudes towards products, and the dressing styles in UK possess Martini’s most important features: the versatility, variety and uniqueness. A Martini can be customized and made in a million different ways but always begins with the basics of gin, vermouth, and shake or stir in some ice.

For example, the fashion market in London could be compared to a martini up with any added flavor such as a pom-pom martini, choco-tini, blueberry martini, etc. These martinis are specialized and have some added flare to a classic drink. Just as Londoners try to add their own spin to classic looks and trends. Martini is a very trendy drink and people in London were all pretty trendy and cutting edge with their looks. Not only were the people trendy, but the stores were trendy as well. The stores are like the glass of martini, creative, changeable and various. Martini is trying to find the best fit glass to reflect and strengthen its personality, which is the same with the shopping environment in UK. The cheaper vintage stores also aimed to be “the place to be.”

With Manchester on the other hand, one could say it is more of a dirty gin martini on the rocks. This drink is the same basic cocktail without the extra garnishes, flavors, and fancy glass. This drink looks pretty generic and yet when you taste it, there is a powerful kick with the potent olive juice. Manchester is a working-class city. The people, fashions, and stores there are like dirty gin martini as well. They are nearly as upscale and trendy as those in London. People prefer to buy what is comfortable and what they like and keep it traditional.  However what the fashion lacks, they made up for it with spunky personalities and sense of humor. Ever the stores in Manchester are not what they appear to be. For instance, Affleck’s Palace looks like a big warehouse. But once you are inside the store, you will have an impressive memory of the unexpected interior and shopping experience there because of its uniqueness with vintage, goth, and trendy clothing along with eclectic accessories and gifts.

More generally, the experience of shopping in London is very similar to the experience of enjoying a martini. Going out for a martini is a calm and sophisticated social experience where a person can enjoy the company of their friends. It is a special event and a memorable one as well. Londoners go shopping for the social experience.

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London V. Manchester- Fashion

May 29, 2010

Coming after my blog posts about London, I think the best approach to this would be to acquaint ourselves a bit better with Manchester overall. However, before I go into depth about that, I’d like to make some more simple comparisons between the two big cities of the UK.

The Wheel of Manchester, not as big as the London Eye, but still a nice addition to the city.

The London Eye, a lot bigger, a lot more of a tourist attraction, Kind of like London it self?

My time here in UK has ended, after spending about a week in London, and 2 nights in Manchester, I’ve come to the conclusion that Manchester is a lot like Milwaukee compared to New York City (not Chicago because of the size).

Manchester has the same unmistakeable appeal of and dedication to its small, or not so small, privately owned businesses as Milwaukee does. Londoners are a lot more about cheekier in their demeanor and wealthier for the most part, and they like to show it off. Manchester was built on the backbone of the working class, and its citizens seem to view, and pride, it as the revolutionary black sheep of the UK. It prides itself as having its ideals and identity existing outside of the aristocracy rather than in accordance to it. Manchester definitely still has all of the bells and whistles of a big city, but the history and people are what make it different from London. I once wondered why Londoners told us as a group through passing conversation that Manchester is “shit” and vice versa, but I think I understand now.

“There is more to Manchester than shopping, bars, and clubs. Manchester is a city of radical thinkers, mavericks, and trendsetters. It’s the people that give this city its edge. They have always fought for their rights: challenging, resisting, contesting, insisting. Peterloo did not crush this spirit! And the Suffragette struggles were fueled by it. (suffragette city?)Manchester attitude, the swagger on the street, colours the cultural landscape. It inspires designers, artists, musicians, writers to harness and express the tangible pulse that surges through the city.”- a display plaque from Manchester’s Modern Art Gallery Museum.

London definitely has its areas of shopping, and so does Manchester. Manchester has thrift stores and market places like London’s Brick Lane to buy clothes as well as busier areas similar to London’s Oxford Street to go to places like TopShop. So Manchester is similar to London in these ways, but what makes Manchester different? It has one type of shopping destination that makes it unique: Afflecks. (no, not Ben Affleck, but I did keep my eyes out for him). Afflecks is one huge building that designers can open their boutiques in and sell their original designs. It’s like a gigantic hub of fashion innovation and creativity, which is so paralleled with the culture of Manchester. The second I walked in, I smelled the aroma of warm, scented candles. It wasn’t a perfumed smell like those in Harrods; this smell felt more organic, and so did the clothes.

We fight in honourable fashion for the good of mankind; fearless of the future, unheeding of our individual fates, with unflinching hearts and undimmed eyes.
Theodore Roosevelt

x,

Lisa

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Last Day!

May 24, 2010

Wow. It’s our last day in London, and this week flew by. Moving onto Manchester next! Anyway, I have come to a few conclusions about London fashion. The thing that I noticed the most is how comfortable everyone is in their own skin. No matter how flamboyant or conservative you might dress, it is all about the way that you have confidence. Londoners don’t try to adapt to their surroundings and dress the same; they try to set themselves apart. This creates a wonderful myriad of styles and fashion creations. Fashion trends are seen in magazines, and then Londoners adapt them to suit themselves.

We noticed that a huge part of London fashion deals with mixing old with new, and being able to take an outfit from day to night. Accessories are huge here. Londoners have a way of taking one accessory, a belt for example, and using it to tie together an entire outfit. The use of selected accessories helps them do what I mentioned earlier, take an outfit from day to night or combine something old with new. It has been inspiring visiting a place where people are so independent and confidant, and I’m sure going to miss this place! I can’t wait to see what Manchester and Prague will bring.

~Lisa

“And an integrated life is one where you’re able to fit the different pieces of your life together in seamless fashion.”
-James Collins