SpearTalks: STRANGEco

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Inevitably, it starts like this: You walk into a storefront, studio or house. The store is run by men in plaid shirts and sneakers; the studio is ran by men in plaid shirts, sneakers, and glasses; the house is full of art prints, sneakers, and people who look like they belong in a studio/storefront. There are shelves in these places, and on the shelves are toys. They are not toys for boys (or girls) — they have not been made to battle each other, or buried in a sandbox, or forced to kiss Barbie — these are man-toys (wo/man- toys), and they represent something entirely different, refreshingly new, and disgustingly addicting.

The vinyl toy movement (also referred to as the art toy movement; sometimes referred to as the urban vinyl movement) has been creeping through the US for years now, but only recently has it reached such gratifying levels of familiarity. At the head of this movement (or more accurately; at one of it’s many heads, each of which are covered in eyeballs and separately designed by artists the world over) is STRANGEco, a company founded in 2002 by college chums Jim Crawford and Gregory Blum.

Joshspear.com: When, how, and why was STRANGEco founded?

Jim Crawford: STRANGEco was founded in 2002 by myself (Jim Crawford) and Gregory Blum. We’ve known each other for a long time; we were college roommates, which goes back quite a ways now (gulp!). (more…)

Eames + USPS

Now, I am not one to get overly excited about stamps — in fact, I don’t even remember the last time I bought stamps — but you’ve probably figured out by now that I get very, very excited about anything and everything Eames. So, when USPS releases the sixteen stamps honoring Charles and Ray Eames next summer, you can bet I’ll be back to writing letters the old-fashioned way. Sweet!

And Now For Something Completely Different

It's safe to say that if you like Manga then you probably wear t-shirts most of the time. Okay, maybe that's not so safe to say but that's the only way we could think to lead in to talking about two new but separate titles from Collins publishing imprint on the possibly related topics of Manga and tees. The first title, Comickers Art: Tools and Techniques for Drawing Amazing Manga by Comickers Magazine, may help you create the next big Manga title by offering visual step-by-step guide to the tools and techniques of drawing Manga from an authoritative source on Japanese comics.

Next up is Street T by Louis Bou, taking an offbeat look at everyone's favorite garment (and no, we're not referring to girdles) by checking out forty of today's hottest t-shirt designers across 5 chapters, as well as the most unique tees being worn on the streets today. Some of the shirts may even feature some Manga illustrations…though we're not promising anything.

Red Chinese (Envelopes)

Despite their recent embrace of Capitalist tendencies, the Chinese have yet to ditch their Commie reds in favor of monetary greens, proving that the old guard has not completely eroded. Much like the culture of the country they represent, Design Night's 2008 limited edition Year of the Rat Li Xi Envelopes are a mixture of old tradition and new ideas. This modern twist on the customary craft of the Chinese Red Envelope gives credence to the time honored institution of the Chinese New Year, but unlike other envelopes, which are printed, the Li Xi gift envelopes are entirely laser-cut and carefully hand-assembled. We love the Rats just as much as we loved the pigs last year. See, innovation and institution can co-exist.

Porter Monocle Bags

One of the magazines I miss most living in Brazil is Monocle, a hefty tome of a magazine that has thought-provoking articles about all manners of world issues and cultures. It has a paid-subscription access area on its website, but I prefer to read the mag’s long articles via hard copy. The videos, though, are free (you can sign up for their podcasts by doing a search for “Monocle” in iTunes) and immaculately produced. In short, Monocle is a sophisticated magazine whose taste I implicitly trust.

I’d been so occupied with other parts of their site that I only discovered the shopping area of their site yesterday. There’s a fabulous bike way out of my price range but Monocle has a collection of travel bags for sale that won’t break the bank once the prices are converted from pounds into dollars. They’re made by a Japanese company named Porter, especially for them. These soft luggage pieces come in handsome, utilitarian shapes, with the only embellishments in the form of leather. The overnight bag is especially well crafted, with a laundry bag and a smaller bag for toiletries thrown in to help keep your toothbrush separate from your dirty underwear. Coincidentally, Hypebeast did a post a few days ago on some new bags from Porter, separate from Monocole, which are equally just as yummy.

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