Amani hairs

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The following sign may be seen on Chengzong Road in Jiading, Shanghai:

We learn from this expat website that the real name of this establishment is apparently Amani Hair Salon and Spa, and that its "Image Creative Director" is Mr. Frank Taylor, who is said to have previously held the same position at Vidal Sassoon. Since there is at least one more shop with this name at another address (No.15 Wu Jiang Road [near Nanjing Road, Shanghai TV Station]), it would appear that this is a chain. Why Mr. Frank Taylor would permit this sign to remain on his shop for months (it was at the Chengzong Road shop already in September and it was still there earlier this evening) is unclear.

Āmǎní 阿玛尼 is simply the sinographic transcription of Armani (the brand name for Giorgio Armani S.p.A. the international fashion house); the three characters with which it is written carry no semantic weight in this context.

The splitting of "hairs alon" is reminiscent of the "FIRE EXTINGUI SHER BOX" in this recent post.

[A tip of the hat to John Palkovic]


  1. Brian said,

    October 20, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    I can't believe you didn't title this point "Splitting hairs alon".

  2. Ast A. Moore said,

    October 21, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    Reminds me of the


    sign on a hitching post, which, when properly spaced, reads “To Tie Mules To.”

  3. Xmun said,

    October 21, 2011 @ 12:12 am

    Perhaps such a title was thought of but eschewed? (I once heard that last word spoken on the radio, would you believe.)

    The non-rhotic "Amani" is worth noting too.

  4. Janice Byer said,

    October 21, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    In another part of the world, one might suspect this establishment of trying to trade on an unaffiliated salon's reputation, while avoiding infringing on its trademark. If China's chain of fake Apple stores are any guide, however, we can presume a real fake would spell the name the same.

  5. GummyBear said,

    October 21, 2011 @ 3:32 am

    I don't understand why the less common character 玛 was chosen instead of 马. They have the same readings and will do the same job for phonetic translation. Maybe they chose it just for the look but wouldn't keeping the original brand name Armani in Latin alphabet a better choice?

  6. Keith said,

    October 21, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    Although Victor says that the characters are purely a phonological transcription of the Chinese (non-rhotic) pronunciation of Armani, I think that the choice of 玛 over 马 for mǎ is deliberate.

    Since 玛 means "agate, cornelian, semi-precious stone" and 马 means "horse", the choice of 玛 might make a stronger association with luxury (and voids any possible link to grass and mud).

  7. Alice said,

    October 21, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    This may or may not be relevant, but the Hong Kong band Beyond has a pretty well known song called "Amani", which I think is supposed to be Swahili for "peace". It's the first association I made. So it may not necessarily be outright trying to take the Armani brand name though the similarity certainly wouldn't hurt…..

  8. kktkkr said,

    October 22, 2011 @ 4:30 am

    To mix a meme with a bad pun, I guess their hairs are forever alon.

  9. David said,

    October 24, 2011 @ 5:01 am

    Reminds me, in turn, of the apocryphal Roman pot unearthed at an archeological dig in southern England, which bore the inscription:

  10. Janice Byer said,

    October 25, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    Hee, David, your artifact reminds me, in turn, of a similar mysterious find by the Pickwick Club, as reported by Charles Dickens:


  11. Lareina said,

    October 27, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    Actually "Alon Spa" sounds kind of correct.
    I first looked at the picture before I read the article, and I thought it's a direction sign that indicate 'ALON SPA is on the right'… After I read the article I wondered if any of their target customers actually understand it.
    Armani is not the worst. Valentino has over 200 different names in China and it's all over different 'industries'.

  12. MX said,

    October 27, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    There was a famous song by the Hong Kong band Beyond named Amani, which means peace in Swahili.

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