The gothic buildings of Brussel’s Grand Place have been given an extraordinary jolt of color this week, as volunteers constructed a giant floral carpet made from 600,000 begonias in the square’s open space. Created as a tribute to African tapestry weavers the 1,800 square meter artwork is expected to be viewed by 100,000 people this weekend.
Someone asked me recently when I realized the internet was a big deal.
I gave the answer that was the first thing I could think of at the time (AOL chat rooms!), but it just occurred to me that a better response might have been: winning an Armani Exchange online contest! A|X was one of the first retailers I remember having a web presence that I was at all interested in. This being 1997ish, just to be clear.
So - A|X had contests calling for ideas on where/how people would wear items from their new collections. How you entered: you sent “them” an email. Seems charmingly outdated and limited in its social scope now, but hey - that’s how the internet used to be! I’m sure they got dozens, if not hundreds, of responses.
That simple, two-way interface also encouraged me around that time to write Abercrombie and Fitch and ask them why they didn’t still stock shoes. Again, 1997, people! I got a very friendly, well-considered response. Who were the people manning the inboxes of these brands at the time, I wonder?!
Anyway, I won a massively oversized, terrycloth, logo-emblazoned hoodie that I wore proudly around the house. It is now lost to the sands of time, much like my first-ever internet purchase (also around that time) - a pair of Royal Elastics sneakers from Boo.com. I love my parents for handing over their credit card, and not judging me too much for how I took advantage of the “big deal” retail possibilities of the internet.