THE BLOG

Is Your Country Proudly on Trend?

17/07/2015 10:48 BST | Updated 14/07/2016 10:59 BST

When you think of 'Made in Italy' and you automatically think of the three F's: fashion, football and food. Talking of which, I recently watched a very moving film called 'Mediterraneo', an Italian film that won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film back in 1991. Set during World War II, it tells a story of a group of Italian soldiers who become stranded on a Greek island in 1941, a year after Italy joined Germany against the Allies. They are left behind and forgotten by the Italian government, even years after the war has ended.

The soldiers win the trust of the local Greeks, gradually become part of the community. As the Italians soldiers ease into an idyllic existence, they begin to forget about the war and pursue romance with the lovely women of the island (well, romance had to be in there somehow. They are Italians after all?).

Italians and Greeks have a common Mediterranean heritage and that there is an enormous irony in the Italians, who rightly pride themselves on the antiquity of their civilisation, seeking to subdue another culture whose origins are 2000 years older. There is a wonderful unifying theme throughout, that also includes a football match, something only a European or South American viewer could truly appreciate.

In the end the Italians get rescued, years after the war has ended, by very cool, starched British Royal Navy officers smartly dressed in cream summer attire outfits, British officials who cannot speak Italian and the Italians who can barely say a few words of English. It's satire at its best.

Like Italy's strong export of the 'Made in Italy' brand; Britain has also conquered a 'Cool Britannia' sense of style and trendiness. Cultural icons that go from the likes of David Beckham all the way up to the Royal family, have helped UK's brands outperform abroad. Let's face it when you think of Made in Britain and 'Britishness' the list is endless: Johnnie Walker, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Burberry, Barbour and Bond, yes, James Bond.

Alongside trendy movies and British pop music, both exported all over the world, it appears that being a Brit is fashionable and cool. And who can forget the magic of Summer Olympics 2012?

Look at what has happened over here in recent years. The British have fallen in love with the concepts of upcycling, recycling, reclaimed and restoring, giving a new lease of life to otherwise useless items, perhaps ready for the skip.

Beautiful historic British buildings have been giving a new life, look at St Pancras Station in London. Mixing the old with the new, like in the Oscar winning movie Mediterraneo, Britain knows what its strength is. What makes Britain stand out is that it incorporates long traditions and innovation faultlessly.

Greece also has a long list of traditions and cultural, iconic treasures. What Greece is lacking right now is just the 'innovation' part of it. So, my hope is for Greece to regain a sense of 'Made in Greece' pride that sadly has gone missing lately due to the crisis. Each country has a beautiful story to tell and to tell it in style is my only wish for Greece right now.

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