Forced Design Eras - Design Styles to the Rescue - A Loop!

During a recent talk I delivered at a Design Market, I introduced the concept of "Defashion for longevity". Explaining how by following interior fashions you are instantly caught in a trap of needing to update your space(s) as fashions fade.  I also introduced approaches to over come this. Using design periods of the past to style a space is one approach. And that's when it happened.... An internal debate in my head started. There's always been an interior fashion, or style, so to speak. There's clear period styles dating back to ... well way back,  so why do I see it as a problem now? Is it a problem?  Do others see it? Whats the answer?

You can look back in history and see clear historic periods, but also how one style influenced the next. Design periods were over years, if not decades. In fact, design periods in mid millennia (13th - 16th centuries) generally lasted for the duration of reigns of monarchies.   Shaped and influenced by multi-talented, multi-faceted individuals, events in history, travel and exploration,  and advancements in tools and technology (albeit early day technology) were guided by a select few. Furniture, paintings, furnishings, floor coverings, wall coverings. They all evolved. They moved and morphed from one style to another, you can see it, explain it. They in themselves create a story. 

 The 7 Series Starke Stool - Layering the shapes of classic chairs by three design masters of mid century: Arne Jacobsen, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Image Source Pinterest.

The 7 Series Starke Stool - Layering the shapes of classic chairs by three design masters of mid century: Arne Jacobsen, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Image Source Pinterest.

The key is They EVOLVED. They came forth gradually into being to be precise. But the pace of these design styles has quickened, especially since the turn of the 19th century when the effects of the industrial revolution really kicked in.  As material, craftsmenship, tools, technology, knowledge and desire to make a statement or create a difference to society increased and changed, the design styles started to revolve around decades rather than reigns. This pace has increased exponentially throughout the last Century as design influence has spread out to include an entire industry, not just a select few. Today, synonymous with textile fashion, interior design styles last a season, a year if you're lucky. You can see products percolate. From design shops, to high street shops, to discount shops, to opp shops. The length of this journey varies, but it seems to be getting shorter.  We are constantly changing the material, shape, texture, colour of interior products and the masses try to keep up with whats in fashion. To add to this, our personal inability or lack of interest to craft and make things ourselves, means we are reliant on what we can find in the shops. We're forced into the fashion. But this is changing. And at a similar impressive rate.  Its one part of the solution...

 The fashions in interiors are often influenced by the Fashion (Textile & Clothing) Industry. Image Source: Freshome.com

The fashions in interiors are often influenced by the Fashion (Textile & Clothing) Industry. Image Source: Freshome.com

So what is the solution?  Ironically. Its fashion! Its trend. And its three fold. The interior trend at the moment is to buy local / artisan products choosing quality over quantity. Its also about mixing it up and making your space about you and your family. Placing meaningful items in your home over products you see and want to buy. (see previous blog - An Oxymoron!). The fashion might be focusing on the individual but its also moving towards reducing global impact. Sustainability is increasingly becoming at the heart of everything that we do. Recycling, re-purposing, reinventing and reusing is being supported with increased redesigning, rethinking and responsible purchasing.  I guess that now fashion is putting us on the right track in finding a solution to getting off the design style hamster wheel, we need to be mindful that this trend might move on.  To be able to dig in your heels and swoon in the solution for the long term, you need to know when to jump off. But with so many amazing developments, the critical point is to recognise when that is and for what. Key is recognising the difference between change for fashion sake and change for society and technological advancement. They're very very different.