Local Vogue 4: meeting Artists Not Armies

Aug 31, 2010 |  by  |  Fashion
About the author
A dreamer and hopeless romantic, in love with words and fashion. Want to know more or share something? Email me at anna@overdose.am!

Local Vogue is a series of meetings with emerging local fashion talents. These are people who decided to take a leap of faith, live the dream and start their own label. They design, create and show us that when you really want something, nothing is impossible. Previous Local Vogues can be found here.

Sometimes, an idea can be so brilliant yet so amazingly simple that it is surprising that no one came up with it before. When I first met Alexander Tempel at Amsterdam Fashion Week, I just had to take his picture. Not because his look was so particularly unique or ground breaking, but because his presence as a whole made me turn my head. He wore his outfit with much confidence, but it was the text printed on the bag he was carrying that provided the finishing touch: Artists not Armies.

The phrase immediately reminded me of one my favourite slogans in the world: make love not war. I wasn’t surprised when Alexander told me that he was indeed inspired by this world-famous quote. You have to understand that Alexander is not your typical designer, nor is he your typical creative mind. He studied law in Amsterdam, finished it, became a painter and then decided to create the brand Artists not Armies. He is now the proud owner of a label that produces some of the best canvas bags that I have seen in years, all carrying that one simple phrase.

I met him at his breathtakingly beautiful office located right at the canal in the heart of Amsterdam. His paintings were hanging on his office walls, giving the room a modern splash of colour, and his canvas bags were everywhere. On the day of shooting, I was once again impressed with his outfit, his creativity and his simple yet decisive way of thinking about life. Although Alexander comes off relaxed and very kind, I could tell that he is determined to make his brand work and grow big.

Alexander told me that he was always surprised to see how people in Amsterdam dress up and can look so unique, but still manage to carry their groceries in a ripped plastic bag. He wanted to give these people a canvas bag that not only looked good, but was practical at the same time. The text on the bags is crucial and the signature red A that is printed on the back can be recognized anywhere in the world, making it the ultimate shopping bag.

After only a few months of production, his bags have already been spotted all over the world, from Amsterdam to London and Italy. The process of expanding the label with limited edition bags and sweatshirts is already in the making. One of the most important things for Alexander is to stay in touch with the people who carry his bags and therefore pictures of fans wearing the signature red A appear on his Facebook page and blog regularly. They all share the same vision and stand for a message that is not only very fashionable but also inspiring: let’s be Artists not Armies!

Curious and want a bag of your own? Alexander and I will be giving away two original bags from his collection, as seen here! All you have to do is become a fan of our Facebook page, and then either comment on this post there or send an email to giveaway@overdose.am! I am already a fan of my bag and can assure you that you will be too. Good luck!

Check out the video on top of this page and take a look through the photo gallery below to see the bags and to understand why I am so excited about Artists not Armies.

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