With so much excess clutter invading our lives, it can get pretty overwhelming. We see it everyday, everywhere. We seem to always be "plugged in." From retail to television to internet and transportation, there is simply too much noise, screaming "look at me!" However, is this overstimulated world beginning to wear us out?
photo via style.com
Looking at the most recent RTW Spring/Summer 2012 runway shows, design has definitely shifted to a more minimal aesthetic. Additionally, what was once financially smart for luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana, has also taken a turn. The two Italian designers have decided to discontinue their more affordable D&G line and instead, further ensure the strength of their signature brand.
photo via Financial Times
Manufacturers of everyday products from toothpaste to chocolate seem to be on the same page as they downsize product assortments on shelves. Not only does this cut costs for businesses, but simplifies our shopping experience by reducing the variety of choices that we can barely differentiate from one to the next. Unilever, which produces everything from Lipton Ice Tea to Dove products, is at the forefront of this movement as they cut back 40% of their goods.
photo via WWD.com
Not only are product lines shrinking, but stores are as well. Rather than focusing on square footage, businesses are instead approaching customers’ shopping experiences by enhancing the general atmosphere of the store. As demographics change, retailers are going to have to create a more suitable environment to draw shoppers in. It’s about keeping it simple by offering relevant products that consumers are willing to spend their money on rather than producing so much excess and wastefulness.
photo via Patagonia
Patagonia is ahead of the game as it recently launched its Common Threads Initiative, which encourages customers to only buy what they need through their new Ebay online shop. The program promotes recycling and reduces consumption by asking customers to make a pledge to reuse and resell excess products. Patagonia is the first brand to really partner with their customers to control consumption and use the Ebay platform to increase environmental awareness and fight pollution.
photo via E! online
From fashion to the movies, the common theme all around is simplicity. This year's winner of the Cannes Film Festival, Drive, is everything and anything but moderate. With its beautiful and clean cinematography and limited dialogue, the film approaches minimalism from a different aspect by eliminating any extras and stunt doubles. Not only is the cast downsized, but so are the number of wardrobe changes. Whether dressed in a relaxed denim jacket or a bomber with a scorpion on the back, Gosling's character shines through. While very different from the overabundance associated with the movies, Drive does an excellent job of enticing the viewer and keeps us interested despite all the frugality. Like they say, quality over quantity!
photo via springwise.com
So maybe it’s about time we unplug and check in, but to reality. Marriott’s Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel has the right idea as they offer a package to digitally detox. Upon check-in, guests have an opportunity to de-stress by resigning all devices, including laptops and cell phones as they begin their revival from the sensory overloads of everyday life. To replace any technology withdrawals, accommodations include your pick of an array of classic literature as well as kayaking lessons. If this isn’t the best way to recharge your batteries then we don’t know what is!
As we shift from this notion of affordable fast fashion towards long lasting quality purchases, it is no longer about quantity, but a desire to have real substance in our lives. Instead, we strive to de-clutter unimportant ideas and things and focus on becoming more aware of the world around us. Maybe less really is more. Today, we challenge you to take a deep breath and disconnect!