By the time you read this there’s no telling what will be happening in Greece. Europe and Greece are tossing brickbat accusations at each other from their respective parapets. Somebody for sure is going to get hurt. Just how badly no one quite knows.
But this isn’t about that. At least not directly. It’s about something far more serious: A frontal assault on the very symbol of those placard carrying, rock and Molotov cocktail tossing, youthful demonstrators that haunted Greece’s central Parliament square back in pre-January 2015 election days.
I’m talking about the hoodie. De rigueur wear for Greek youth on those rough and tumble social occasions, they’d pull them snuggly across their faces to mask features and protect their eyes and noses from the inevitable tear gas moments.
Where hast thou gone, oh hoodies? We hardly see ye any more. Maybe you’re still out there, just no longer gaining attention from the media—a fate worse than death to demonstrators.
Come on now, Greeks, aren’t there some brave souls out there willing to pick up the hoodie banner—leaving aside the rocks and bottles please—and carry that noble tradition forward as a positive, constructive symbol of youthful exuberance?
Youth unemployment in Greece is twice the Great Depression exceeding levels of the country’s general unemployment, and hundreds of thousands of Greece’s brightest, determined young minds have flooded to other nations in search of opportunities for building careers.
I’ve long thought that if Greece hopes to realistically emerge anytime soon from the nightmare of an economy and government locked in perpetual crisis, it must find ways to inspire its young to remain in Greece and work toward making things better for their generation.
Imagine my surprise when I came upon this project…
It’s a “Kickstarter” campaign, organized by a Greece-based e-shop company called We Create Harmony (“WCH”). They describe themselves as, “A team of young entrepreneurs passionate about Greek youth unemployment and supporting the professional development of our generation. We founded our company to demonstrate the power of cooperation and the synergies that arise from working together.”
Wow, it checked off virtually every box on my “Let’s get Greece working in the right direction” wish list. But what do those words actually mean in practice? I looked deeper and learned WCH is a profit-making, fashion oriented business organized by Greek twenty-something year-olds marketing products in a way intended to maximize the return to its contributing designers, and donating 10% of receipts to good causes that benefit Greek youth in need.
Among the good causes thus far receiving aid from WCH are a youth unemployment project aimed at encouraging digital marketing careers, a scholarship to Greece’s leading fashion school, a business coaching center dedicated to re-educating the unemployed, remote island schools in need of computers for underprivileged students, and other NGOs providing similar opportunities.
That all works for me.
But where’s the hoodie fit into all this? If I’m so hyped up over recasting Greece’s national symbols, then what is WCH doing toward returning the hoodie to a place of constructive cultural prominence?
The answer to that question blew my socks off…giving me cold feet about making a pun on the subject.
Remember that Kickstarter campaign I mentioned? Kickstarter is a global fundraising platform based in the US with the stated mission of helping to bring creative projects to life. In the instance of WCH, it’s an effort to generate international interest in WCH’s products and eleemosynary purposes by offering up an environmentally respectful, quality driven product to serve as the symbol of its company’s goal of bringing harmony to the world…in six colors no less.
You guessed it; Harmony is representing its goals in a hoodie! If you want to read more about the hoodie here’s a link, and also one to a video on WCH by its creators.
Frankly, I’m just happy to learn there are young Greeks out there doing what’s necessary to restore the hoodie and their country’s good names. Greece needs more of that. A lot more.
I must mention that this all came to my attention through Barbara, because her nephew is one of the moving forces behind WCH. But I promise you I’ve received neither a promise nor suggestion of anything in return for writing this post. Not even a light blue hoodie in size XL.