Meta, Metee, and Nalina three artists who have collaborated to create Mon. Mon is a clothing and accessory line that combines delightfully original artwork with splashes of bright colors on wonderfully soft cottons. A photographer (Meta Decha), a ceramic artist (Metee Decha), and an illustrator (Nalina Tangkanokvitaya) work together to make a wide variety of dresses, tank tops, jewelry, and purses that stand out because of their graphics and colors. From hand drawings of cities literally exploding with color to sad caged birds to cherubs painting rainbows on Mon's shirts, sweatshirts, and purses to necklaces with ceramic cameras, floppy disks, and skulls, each piece is a work of art. No, really. Everything is hand made - hand drawn, hand printed, hand dyed. Since Mon's gotten larger, it is now based out of Thailand. But it still has a crew of faithfuls who hold down the fort in London for those looking to buy.
I was told when I arrived in London that I would want to blend in because I would not want to stand out as an American. I agreed. In the way of fashion, there were a few simple guidelines to follow: 1 - British do not wear bright colors 2 - British wear practical things 3 - British are always put together. In a city notorious for its rainy days and cloudy weather, London's fashion choices seemed appropriate. I prepared to mesh by packing more dark clothes than usual, but am happy to report that rules 1-3 have been dispelled. 1 - A trip to Spitalfield Markets, Brick Lane, and Sunday Up Market proves that color is a popular choice with a variety of Londoners. Black may forever be chic, but there's no denying that neon pink or green is simply more fun. 2 - London women love heels. And I'm sorry but there is nothing practical about trekking around the city in 4 inch heels...though it does mean said women have killer calves. 3 - Perhaps the only rule that is truly debatable. Though I've seen plenty of Brits who dressed to the nines on a Tuesday morning for no apparent reason, I have also seen many who seem to have taken the more boho, messy approach to getting dressed. Hair tousled in short layers or long tresses, girls in leggings under over-sized dresses or shirts, with sweaters falling off their shoulders, and long strapped purses across their chests look far from put together. But in their chaos there is something calculated. Maybe rule 3 still applies. But for now I am happy to pull out my green acid wash v-neck and bright purple State Radio shirt without feeling too foreign. I feel as though I'm starting to properly blend in. If only I could walk 5 miles in heels...
Chris Stamp created Stampd' LA after working for Conveyor at Fred Segal, where he custom designed sneakers. Working on a larger, more accessible and costumer-friendly level, Stampd' creates different designs that are silk-screened or printed onto different shoes. The sneaker patterns range from simplistic (with this fall's "White Slow" shoe) to vibrant colors (like the splatter paint-esque "Duffld" or this summer's "Red Slow). Though Stamp is making the shoes on a wider field than previously, only 100-200 of many of the styles are released worldwide, making them pretty hot commodities. The vibe and marketing of Stampd' is inebriating though. With their bright colors, young faces, and overall cool demeanor, Stampd' seems to be more of an art form, a style transforming footwear into much more than just foot protection. Footwear has become more and more in vogue recently, and Stampd' pushes it further, proving that shoes can be and are an art of their own.
This summer the Black Eyed Peas released a new song called "I've Gotta Feeling." The first time I heard it I thought it was The Jonas Brothers or some other teen-y band. The song is somewhat tamer, less sexual than some of their past songs, though seemingly catchy and just as popular as "Boom Boom Pow," "My Humps," and "Let's Get It Started."But there's another unusual thing about the song: the inclusion of Hebrew words like l'chaim and mazel tov. Words not often heard in Top 40 songs, they make "I've Gotta Feeling" seem like it's made for bar and bat mitzvahs. The song is played almost hourly on popular radio stations, and despite the Black Eyed Peas newer direction, there is no doubt that every Jewish 13 year-old will have this song playing at their bar/bat mitzvah parties this year.