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FAST HOMEWARE - AN UNSUSTAINABLE TREND

WE'RE STARTING TO CHANGE OUR INTERIORS AS OFTEN AS OUR WARDROBES - AND IT ISN'T GOOD FOR US OR THE PLANET 

White Flower Vases

We’ve all been there - you pop to the supermarket to get some tea and as you saunter past the homeware aisle you pick up a new throw cushion, a set of candlesticks or a novelty bath mat. Because you can. Because it’s cheap. And because we’ve all spent the last few years trapped inside looking at same four walls, while swiping through endless images of ‘daily decor inspo’ on instagram. 

THE RISE OF THE HOMEWARES MARKET

It's not as though home decorating doesn't have a long history - humans have been putting an artistic twist on their living spaces since the first caveman or woman dipped their hand in some animal blood and decided it would a good way to brighten up the walls. But for a long time, it simply wasn't affordable for most people to add much decoration to their homes - carpets, pictures, soft furnishings and wallpaper were all luxuries until the Victorian period and growth of mass manufacturing.

 

Throughout the 20th Century, home decorating grew in popularity - with homewares coming in ever increasing ranges and cheaper prices. An IKEA catalogue published in 1951 offered consumers a choice of just over 200 items (including 4 types of bookshelf and 4 types of clock). Today the average IKEA stocks around 12,000 products (including more than 500 types of bookshelf and 40 different types of clock).

By 2000 many big name fashion retailers and supermarkets were jumping on board the trend and expanding into homewares. Then covid struck and sent the homewares market stratospheric - as people were locked down inside their homes for long periods of time with nothing but instagram influencers to keep them company. 

Like clothes, homewares are now a product of fast fashion - a series of ever changing seasonal micro-trends that we impulsively join and then abandon soon after in favour of the next big thing. 

THE IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH & THE ENVIRONMENT

This is bad for so many reasons! Not only does it mean we all end up feeling increasingly pressured to ‘keep up’ with whatever is shiny and new, but we lose our own personal sense of style and taste - creating mirror image interiors with little of ourselves reflected back. 

 

The impact on the planet is even worse. Fast homeware, like fast fashion, is often cheap because companies exploit natural resources and workers to produce it.  Each new item that is made comes with a CO2 footprint and many are made from synthetic materials that can’t be recycled and won’t biodegrade when they are (all to often) thrown away.

Pollution

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE

The answer is for us all to make better choices about the objects we choose to grace our homes with. Resist the impulse buy. Re-use and re-cycle. Go out of your way to buy from smaller retailers who source their stock more carefully. And, of course, where possibly buy vintage. As we at Queens of Green know - vintage pieces come with their own special charm that just can’t be bought off a supermarket shelf. 

 

Curating your home with individual pieces that you have chosen carefully over time, will give you a space that better reflects you and your interests. A space you are happier and more content in - hopefully for a long time to come.

 

As Yves Laurent once said - ‘fashions fade, but style is eternal’

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