20/05/2022 Το περιοδικό

Sunshine in the look

A special brand of glasses demonstrates that the vision of shedia for solidarity and inclusion goes through fashion too.
Text: Danae Alexaki
People say that sunshine and a sweet look have the special power to soothe the soul and boost the mood in difficult times. Sunshine and a sweet look, however, can also generate new ideas, which can then evolve into great acts of solidarity and inclusion. Such a great idea was born in the midst of the pandemic, in the streets of the city, on Romvis Street in central Athens, by Mr Andreas Exarchos, founder of the optical company Original Vintage.
“I work and wander around a lot in the centre of Athens. During the pandemic, I started helping a homeless person. We got to know each other, we chatted, and what I realised is that while we can all find ourselves in a state of homelessness, we do not like to actually see the homeless. We avoid crossing our eyes with theirs. I knew the street magazine shedia, I’m an avid reader. I decided to participate more actively. At first, I thought of making a donation to the magazine, but that wouldn’t quite have the impact I wanted. So I thought: we have an "urban" brand of glasses, we operate in the city centre and we like to participate in social actions. Thus, the idea was born for a series of sunglasses especially for shedia, which will represent the same values as the magazine: dignity, solidarity, inclusion”, says Mr Exarchos speaking to shedia. It took about two and a half months to design and complete the shedia sunglasses line of Original Vintage. It includes six options, namely two different models in three shades each.
“We didn’t just want to rely on an existing model of our production. We wanted the shedia model to support the whole “reuse philosophy” of the "shedia art" programme. The glasses of the series have a biodegradable horn rim (assetato) and, of course, the absorbance of the lenses complies with European standards. The glasses are sold exclusively at Shedia home and through the website of shedia and all proceeds go to the magazine. In this way, the benefit is not limited to a lump sum, but is multiplied by the proceeds of each sale, which will go to people in need”, notes Mr. Exarchos. “Through this initiative, I would like to open a route of solidarity that other professionals could follow too by creating items exclusively for shedia. Would it not be great if, for example, one created an equivalent series of shoes or clothes and bags bearing the brand of shedia and representing everything that the project stands for in the fight against homelessness and social exclusion, to highlight inclusion, equality and the right to a second chance?” he adds.
When asked whether solidarity can become “fashionable”, Mr. Exarchos stressed that “fashion could play an important role in this respect, especially through the impact it has on social media, which is the predominant method of communication nowadays, particularly for the younger generations. In general, fashion has elements that can support actions with a strong social imprint.” Shortly before we said goodbye, Mr Exarchos stressed: “Yesterday I had a very intense day at work. I came home exhausted. But as soon as I saw a thank-you comment of a shedia vendor under a post on social media announcing the new line of glasses available
exclusively at shedia, my mood completely turned around. The fatigue disappeared. Quite honestly, although the project does not yet yield a financial gain for shedia, this message alone made it all feel worth it. After reading just that one post, I said to myself: ‘we did something right’”.
* You can purchase the shedia sunglasses from our café-shop in the centre of Athens (56 Kolokotroni & 2 Nikiou st) and from the online store here

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