This past Christmas season brought me to an awakening………the entire shopping experience has been taken over by what I have named the “Stepford Wives Syndrome” (SWS). No matter where you go across our fruited plain, you are met with shopping malls selling a prototype of national brands stocked to the gills with the exact same merchandise. Talk about a trend that has mutated.
Sameness has invaded our stores and as a designer, that is the one thing I try to avoid at all cost. Why would I want to give someone I treasure a gift that everyone else has? That kinda reeks of — I didn’t make much effort, which explains how we got gift cards:) My dilemma is finding those wonderful artists and craftsmen who conjure up beauty in the most unexpected ways. I want to support their creativeness and talents, and bring them into the limelight. Can I get an amen?
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed the same trend happening in the interior design industry. Trends are a part of our genre for sure, but as designers we inform our clients that investing in what’s saturating the print and TV mediums will be out of style before you know it. The media promotes the shiny new object at the moment, instead of what designers know is more important–proportion, scale, and the subtleties & nuance of a spectacular floor plan.
I’ve noticed a type of peer pressure in the selection process. If you don’t have a beige/neutral pallet, open floor plans, ship lap, white washed everything, then you don’t quite fit in. Well, if you ask me, it’s like copying from your neighbor’s paper to get the answers to good design. The end result is a big fat zero–aka boring. Do you really want your feathered nest to look like your mom’s, sister’s, aunt’s or girlfriend’s house? Hello SWS–“Stepford Wives Syndrome”.
Mass production in the interiors industry has become so rampant that I have come up with my own definition for this non-originality phenomenon–Robotic Decorating. It appears that home channels, design stores, and lifestyle magazines have instituted the uniform seal of approval of what our homes should look like in the overall scheme of things, and then promote it to excess creating a glut of consistency on a particular theme. How many homes have you walked into and fell in love? Yea, I thought so. They’re few and far between, but when you see one, you never for get it. You want to capture that feeling……..of not being like everyone else.
Urban sprawl has revealed the unpopular side of sameness also. Architects and housing developers have abandoned their unique skills of adding custom touches in order to satisfy Suburban Appearance Commissions all in the name of profits. Instead of creating a neighborhood of differing architectural styles that conjures up that warm and fuzzy feeling of Bedford Falls (“It’s a Wonderful Life”), we see entire developments of redundancy. Uhhhhh! Stop already!
Now before you get your feelings hurt for my blunt honesty, let me just say it’s not your fault and there is a remedy that appears to have been greatly overlooked, since the Great Recession of 2008. Don’t rely on the mass media/fake news to set the stage for what they determine is good design. Consult an Interior Designer/Decorator for some sound advice and unique perspective. You won’t be disappointed.