Globalization in Fashion

Have you ever wondered where Anthropologie get’s its incredible lineup of merchandise? Anthropologie spawned from the inspiration of a Parisian flea market; somewhere where you feel like you’re finding treasure every time you come in. Be it a slip, a pea coat, breakfast bowls, their infamous cereal bowls are produced in new colors every season, or a unique lamp, you are sure to find something original and beautiful at Anthropologie. I actually worked at the store in Cherry Creek last holiday season; for a day anyway, oops, moving on. Anyway, working there may not be for me, but shopping there certainly is. In the last issue of Elle, I was glancing at their monthly calendar and spotted the word, “Syria.” This caught my eye because my fiancé is Syrian. The note was for August 18, 2010, last night, and it was for the show, “Man Shops Globe,” on the Sundance Channel, which I had never heard of or seen before. Apparently the half hour segments highlight the buyer for Anthro, Keith Johnson, traveling across the world in search of inspiration for pieces to recreate and sell in the store. He usually brings along a travel buddy and in the case of his Syria trip, he brought one of my favorite fashion designers along, Anna Sui! See the article from The Styleist. Last night’s episode showed Johnson and Sui traipsing across Syria, from Aleppo to Damascus, looking for items to revamp, and import for the Anthopologie stores. How do you feel about making handmade Syrian crafts and furnishings available to the masses? Tin canteens and dessert trays, or soaps from Aleppo, that were once unique and special to the region may now be in your shopping basket here in Colorado. I feel conflicted. On the one hand, I love the idea of bringing hand carved, inlaid furniture and hand blown glass chandeliers to Colorado, and also helping Syrian tradesman by purchasing from them, in hoards at that. However, on the other hand, I think that’s what makes the world so special, its diversity and uniqueness, which sparks our curiosity to travel and discover new things that are unfamiliar to us; where Syrian goods can only be found in Syria! I am fortunate enough to be marrying into such a rich, and beautiful culture, full of history, and I am lucky enough that my fiancé’s aunt has her home decorated with the gorgeous inlaid furniture and home furnishings that Keith wants to replicate and sell at Anthro, but the idea of mass producing and selling such pieces of art sort of disturbs me.
Amongst the finds, Keith found tin canteens, used for traveling across the desert I assume, and he wanted the blacksmith to create a larger mouth on them so he could sell them as wall vases, which in the end didn’t wow Keith. He and Anna Sui fell for the hand painted mosaic tile work in Damascus, as well as hand blown glass disc chandeliers, which had a very mod look to them. I wanted one of those glass chandeliers myself! One of my favorite parts of the show was when Keith and Anna when to a Syrian bath house and were wrapped in silk clothes and drank tea, but they were fully clothed! Hmmm… Until you see the reinvented Syrian furnishings hit the floors here, visit Syrian Gate for authentic goods, or better yet, book a trip to Syria!

Keith Johnson and Ana Sui- Photo Courtesy of Anthropologie

Syrian Handmade Soaps from Aleppo- On

A Syrian inlaid Side Table Keith Johnson wishes to revamp and sell stateside at Anthropologie stores- Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Glass Chandelier as seen on $1190 USD


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