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December 26, 2005
Cashing in on OLOG

The AP reports on the rise of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a fashion statement.

In Phoenix, men and women of different ethnic and religious backgrounds are buying up Virgin Christmas ornaments, ashtrays, candles and medallions at Suenos Latin American Imports. Sales of Virgin products have soared, said owner Robert Bitto, with today’s sales reaching $10,000 compared with about $200 in 1999, the first year he stocked shelves with her image.

Customers buy Virgin-decorated ashtrays to help them quit smoking, he said. "You don’t want to put your cigarette butt out on her face, do you?"

They also buy greeting cards, handbags and Virgin-decorated mouse pads.

"One woman came up to my register, slapped down a mouse pad and said, 'I’m getting this for my husband. Maybe he’ll think twice next time he clicks on his dirty Internet (sites),'" Bitto said.

Self-described Virgin addict Elisa Walker, who is not religious, has spent at least $4,000 on crosses, paintings, key chains and statues, which range from 4 inches to 6 feet tall.

"She’s kind of like the new Frida," the 38-year-old said, referring to legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who is famous for her iconic self-portraits. "The pieces are kitschy and are kind of like modern art."

Het, I'm all for kitsch - Mama-Lu and I even have a kitsch wall in the apartment, but things can go too far:

Twenty- to 70-somethings are snatching up $189 to $360 belt buckles, rings, T-shirts and chokers at Barbwire Western Couture boutique in Scottsdale.

Posted by Papa-Lu at December 26, 2005 10:34 AM
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