Brand Oversaturation

(Giorgio Armani Cafe. I didn’t know M. Armani knew all about coffee and croissants!) Istanbul, Turkey

Brand saturation: When The Going Gets Greedy; how much is too much? Opinion, open to comments and suggestions and opinions! 🙂

Brand saturation. We all know it, even if we don’t realize it. This can also fall under “excessive licensing” to those who are more industry savvy. It’s a topic I find fascinating, and will be doing several posts in regards to it.

You know it. Most people think that Ralph Lauren dreamed up the exact combo of lilies and roses to make his perfume, or that he is just a jack of all trades and knows how to make a watch move. And now look, he has bed linens and plates and picnic baskets! You can go from the cradle to the grave, all day long, using Ralph Lauren.

Not so fast. It’s all licensed. It amazes me, when I bring this up to people in casual conversation, either they’re showing off their new bracelet or admiring the Dior mascara, and I remark about the profits of licensing. Really? He doesn’t design these flip flops? Sorry to burst your bubble about him being your dream guy (designer). I guess my FIT education did me some good after all.

It’s a win win. I do the work, but I get to borrow your name. You don’t do the work, but take less profit and trust me with your name. I personally feel the brand gets the better bargain, but hey, then again, the designer worked their butt off to be in the position where people would PAY them to slap John Smith on their OWN design, so I guess it all is good.

Many designers of course thus take advantage of brand licensing, but isn’t there too much of a good thing? Yes, you might get excited that your favourite designer is now making sunglasses or something of that elk that you can actually afford without surviving on stale saltines for a month, but then all of a sudden, you’re seeing his products everywhere. And I mean everywhere. People of all. It’s nice when everyone can maybe afford a taste of a designer, or is it? Personally it leaves me with a bit of a rotten taste…if everyone can have it, if it’s that accessible, why do I want it?

It’s not that you don’t want people to be able to afford things. Some people save and save to buy a designer bag that they’ve coveted for years. It harkens back to being a child on the playground. You were the first one to have red sparkly Dorothy shoes, and everyone admired them. You ruled the sandbox. But soon word of where your mom got them got out, and then there were a million little Dorothys running amok. You grew bored, and looked for the pink power ranger hi-tops as your next fave thing.

This mentality has not changed much, although instead of Payless Dorothy shoes it might be Valentino, with a 5 inch taller heel. If everyone has an item, you don’t feel unique, and in this day and age, people want to stand out, make a statement, not blend in like sheep. Sometimes you can’t help but to look similar- for example, an outfit of skinny jeans and black booties and a slouchy sweater- but you certainly don’t want to spend top dollar and the exact bag that everyone and their grandmother is carrying.

You start to question, a designer who became famous for perfect fitting blue jeans, do they REALLY know about cups and bowls? About bicycles? About stationary and pens? They start to lose your trust, as you question this superhuman ability. You see the name EVERYWHERE. It’s like your favourite record or CD- eventually you get tired of hearing “hit me baby one more time”, no matter how much you loved it.

Often, the brand loses sight of their original mission, their 20/20 vision becoming as blurred as a 92 year olds. They lose focus on what made them famous. Weren’t they all about the fit of flares, not health food!? So you’ll move on, to greener, un-mowed pastures, forgetting all about your once beloved, coveted item.

Or, you just go to www.etsy.com/shop/japonicanyc to buy unique, vintage porcelain tableware that I can’t find anywhere else!

 

Next up: branding in the sense of basic; to wear it or not to wear it (because everyone else is) how to determine

 

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But I Totally Could Have Made That…

 

(All this takes is some yard sale finds and some glue…) Armory Shows, New York, New York

Short musings of art and peoples perception

But..I could make that! You think, shaking your head and muttering at the last art fair you attended. Sometimes, it just seems so absurd. A bunch of Instagram-like party shots of wasted 22 year olds going for thousands of dollars. Maybe I should try to frame mine and give it a go, you think, swirling your non-alcoholic beverage straw. Next up, a bunch of ….whirring Evian bottles?! Has the world gone mad? This looks like a ten year old boy-genius science project.

Yes, I’m sure you can tie a motor to an Evian bottle and call it a day.

But would you? You haven’t yet, have you? Maybe that’s the difference. Some people are more impulsive then others, and whether or not it is easy as pie or as detailed as a Rubens is not, in fact, the important factor. The factor is the act, deciding to make the move.

It’s true that maybe not a lot of thought goes into a plain navy blue canvas that has a smiley face stuck in the top corner.

When I was five I definitely could have painted a canvas blue and stuck a sticker on the top, albeit the brush strokes would not have had that distinct pattern, and …wait. Now suddenly something that seemed so simple, is actually not.

Whether it is simple or not, I feel that the main purpose of art, when it boils down to it, is not simply just decoration, or to add beauty or colour to a room, but to elicit some sort of emotion. Whether it is surprise, disgust, delight, . Art can make you pensive, it can make you incredulous. It just has to make you think something.

It is a conversation starter. The best kind of first date is actually at a museum- and you can learn a lot about someone from what they have to say about art, whether they appreciate it or not.

It can improve our mood. Looking at a mural of kitties definitely would brighten my day.

It can add beauty, colour, life, to an otherwise dull room. Personally, my mood plummets if I am in a bland, ugly space, and I would think that applies to most humans.

Another world to enter when yours is not to your liking. Getting lost in a wildflower field is much preferable to a windowless cubicle.

It can provoke inspiring thoughts and ideas. Your mind opens up while observing, almost like you are the artist. What would you change?

I myself am a fan on Monet and Renoir, the beautiful detailed yet abstract mixture of colours, the soothing scenes that I feel I can enter. I like the precise detail of a Rubens, the mood of Vermeer. I like things that are realistic, that blatantly take hours to produce. Time is money, precious, you can’t buy it. But it doesn’t mean that something that doesn’t take 4 years to produce can’t be just as appealing, does it?

That being said, there is something appealing about modern art, the art that we are referring to, a bunch of geometric triangles suspended from a fish hook. Each piece is for a different setting.

An office, a restaurant, a theatre lobby, a private school, over my toilet, my living room fireplace, a subway passage, a hotel room. Certainly the bronzed poop emoji statue I saw the other day would be much more appropriate at a comedy club then a bunch of Cezanne grapes.

A time and a place for everything.

So yes, I could have ripped that Persian rug that I stapled to a board, but I haven’t. And it would look pretty damn cool, simple or not.  Does everything have to be so detailed, extravagant? Sometimes life simplified is all we need. Soothing. To the point. Direct. Like an all white room. Zen. See? I’m feeling relaxed just writing about it, I can’t even construct a proper full sentence. Buy vintage porcelain pieces and other unique items on www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

The Armory (Art) Show

(Is it just me, or does the head of that…thing wearing the million button coat remind you of the snake in Beetlejuice?) Armory Art Show, Manhattan

Who doesn’t love a good art fair on a  sunny Saturday afternoon? (All our posts in good humor)

This weekend was the annual Armory Art show at the west side piers in Manhattan. Of course, being the creative type, I paid a visit. Here are a few observations that I feel inclined to point out, and, needless to say, I’ve felt that every art show is a copy/paste.

The same kitschy, repetitive subjects. You know, Mickey Mouse, Campbell Soup cans, popular icons du jour. I do adore Marilyn, but if I see one more pixelated image of her sultry face, I’m going to get more then a seven-year itch. Aren’t there other buxom beauties that you can immortalize using discarded eyeglasses and kids sippie cups? 

The least expensive art is also the most buyable. You snoozed your way through modern contemporary, but now that you’re in the venue that actually lists the price next to the art, you wonder if someone got the lists mixed up, as you actually might buy the bronze poop emoji sculpture, unlike that bare taupe square. You know, something tasteful, trendy….

A million selfies with sculptures. Sure, no worries that the giant blue (Blue? Is it rotten? Do I want to know) strawberry is listed at a price more then your years rent, and it would take longer for you to repay the damage then your student loans? Let’s all form a ring around it like we’re strawberry shortcake. Say selfie!

You want to quit your dayjob. If that guy spends his times to make machines that light up like a plastic garbage bag jellyfish, well, I want some of that. Everyone sat around mesmerized like they got the kool-aid, and I’ve always wanted to inspire beyond my jokes at the bottom of the purchase orders I do.

You’ll be tempted by the chocolate babkha. I thought this was about the art ? Not my growling stomach- or more like it, making my stomach growl, as that falafel lunch I scarfed down earlier is still making me look three months along.

Busiest places are ones with free alcohol. You nodded politely at your date’s analysis of WHY he’d buy the “gray sweatpants/ aquarium on a fur rug” piece, but now that you reached the alcohol sponsored venue, you’ve dropped all patience and elbow your way for a free Bombay Sapphire and champagne (gin and champagne? Sure why not). You’re gonna need it.

People are there to be seen, what art? It’s a fabulous place to people watch- where else would you see people who look like they should be installations of art themselves? Not to mention the obligatory hot/not hot couples making the most of his bonus from Morgan Stanley.

The people you are with look at their phones, not the art. “Sorry, I need to get this girl I met the other night at the Gilded Lily in, I told her about my VIP card you know?” “look at this photo my friend posted of her here yesterday” “Martina said she was coming, god that girl is such a bore. Can we go meet her at the entrance?” While you try to point out that we already passed these pieces.

Imagine where you are putting this things in your apartment. I swear, the people who buy this things must live in some sprawling South Dakotan mansion, because where would I fit some sculpture of a dead cowboy with balloons tied to him in my third floor walkup? Meh, maybe I’ll nix the bed. Why sleep when I can enjoy such wonderful art?

The pieces you love are beyond price upon request. Figures that the antique Persian rug with the mushrooms sprouting from it would garner you a smirk and a raised eyebrow when you inquired (damn, maybe my Hello Kitty tee shirt was a bad idea after all).

Quantity, even of quality, can dull even the most brilliant work.. Yes, the ornate frame with the ditsy floral pattern and man riding bareback is amazing, but after you’ve seen 398420 different works, it barely generates a flicker of your eyes. 

There is some lovely, thought provoking pieces amidst it all. Really, after fighting your way through the crowds, you actually can discover why you came here in the first place. Stand, search, sigh, and remember why you love art and buying things in the first place. Visit Japonicanyc.com to purchase vintage tableware and other atsy items!