Style, Globalisation and Resistance.

In a world where taste is becoming globalised, and where Kmart and Ikea churn out cheap and disposable faux versions of reclaimed wooden furniture, Edison bulbs and Ship Captain’s Lamps, metal high school lockers, Scandinavian furniture and industrial bits and bobs, it’s nice to travel in the land of red plastic chairs and Vietnamese kitsch. I’m waiting for that time when taste in decor, food styling and dress, becomes less regimented and less defined by the taste makers of the internet. The fine stylists I know and admire pay little attention to these trends: they are delightfully eccentric, and possess a real flair for an aesthetic based on individualism.

rusty green security doors. Industrial Dream
Rusty green security doors with plastic bowls. Industrial dream material or old junk?

In an article found in the Guardian last week, ‘Same old, same old. How the hipster aesthetic is taking over the world’  Kyle Chayka puts it this way,

‘Taste is also becoming globalised, as more people around the world share their aesthetic aspirations on the same massive social media platforms, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Foursquare, with their hundreds of millions or billions of users. As algorithms shape which content we consume on our feeds, we all learn to desire the same things.’

Coffee shops are,

‘a hipster reduction obsessed with a superficial sense of history and the remnants of industrial machinery that once occupied the neighbourhoods they take over.’

Gabion filled with broken bowls.
Gabion filled with broken bowls.

While travelling around Hôi An, Hue and Dálat over the last three weeks, I’ve become attracted to louder and more vibrant colours. The plates I collected as souvenirs are made of melamine and feature Quan Am, that androgynous looking Buddhist icon that is so prevalent in Vietnam. I am also attracted to courtyards and planting in pots, tiny economic outdoor kitchens as opposed vast, appliance cluttered designer spaces, tiny plastic stools instead of Tolix knockoffs, brightly coloured lanterns and mid century Asian clutter.

A beautiful archway leading to an outdoor space.
A beautiful archway leading the eye towards an outdoor space.

I know, I can hear what you are saying: things will change she gets home!

For the inspirational stylists in my life, Dianne, Barnadi, Rod, Maxine.

25 thoughts on “Style, Globalisation and Resistance.”

    1. They will, not to mention my collection of 1970s Chinese enamelware. Oh the crazy things that are stuck in my bag this time. I have 12 Vietnamese graters. Would you like one Celia? Slightly bigger bums are more comfortable to sit on.

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  1. I read that article! Yes, IKEA has certainly taken over Greece. It is becoming increasingly hard to find old style places. For example, the ‘morning’ photo challenge I originally had in mind was an image of a local kafenion with the old guys sipping their Greek coffee from small thick white cups. All I could find were upscale cafés dealing in cappuccino freddos in fancy stemmed ware. You can still find old things, but you usually have to look hard for them – and certainly not in the city. Shame that globalisation is spreading the cult of sameness.

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    1. That was a brilliant article and I have been rambling on about this for some time. Every cafe in Melbourne looks the same- Tolix chairs or little boxes. If they get a key piece of old stuff, it becomes a wall feature. Old bicycles are the rage.
      That is a sad thought- you must find that image Debi, the old guys sipping Greek coffee – please. The card players, the retsina sippers…I know you will find them.

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  2. I stopped taking any magazines a few years ago because I was tired of being told what was ‘in’ and then seeing it change from season to season. I wonder if the problem is, it takes time and introspection to find out what one’s true style is. Most people want it instantly, but they also want to be ‘in’, so they look to other sources to ‘find their style’ instead of just seeing what they love and going for it. There is a very pleasing authenticity that comes with a space that has been styled and accessorised by someone who works from the heart. Dare to be who you are, surrender to yourself. Lovely post Francesca.

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  3. Oh yes, I often rant about the commodification of interesting and/or old things I’ve been on the hunt for… one minute scarce, the next they’re in every second homewares store. I’ve found a place for melamine… it’s perfect for the nannavan. Real style cannot be bought, it has to be lived.

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  4. Love this post – even though I have some IKEA things in my home…mostly in the bed room. Fresh linen and not ruining me. My house is filled with old things – combined with new ones. I love the idea of buying things you love and mixing them. I do not believe in, or have ever followed, what’s “in”. I love my things from grandmother, from flee markets, from help organizations, from countries I have visited. Many things made by hand. My favourites are two Thankas from Nepal, where we had the frames made by hand and possible to dismantle (no nails, no nothing of the kind…) to take home.
    Maybe many people would find my home without style – but then – that’s me. It IS me. Individualistic?

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    1. A touch of Ikea mixed in with exotic treasure goes well. Like you, most of my treasure comes from flee markets, junk stores and travel. I lost so many beautiful Asian textiles in the bushfire of 2009- antique Ikat weavings from Indonesia, Sumbas, tankas from Nepal,aboriginal art.Your comment made me think of them again. Your house sounds wonderful, eclectic and individualistic. But then it knew it would be like this- I can tell from your amazing photos each week.

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