Defective by Design

Fashion exists (in addition to keeping people from not being bored) mainly to convince clients to buy defective products, which they will get rid of before their time. If products are well designed (both functionally and esthetically) and well built, then they normally should have a long life span and will be replaced infrequently. That is not good for sales, so sellers speed up the process and dramatically shorten the life spans of the products by employing FASHION.

People are naturally a herd animal and have very strong instincts to conform to the tendencies of their group. This is a survival instinct where pleasing the dominant social group that one belongs to brings Darwinian rewards. People want to imitate trends to gain status within their group… and usually it works.

Marketers use this instinct towards conformity to then sell products with an artificially shortened life span to amp up sales. The formula works by introducing into the market a new fashion which is often defective both in looks and function. They can get away with selling ugly defective products as long as they can convince people that the latest fashion victim trend is actually cool and hip. And it works. People so often throw away perfectly good products to go out and buy new defective products. Then when the fashion passes, folks wake up, the scales have fallen from their eyes, and realize just how ugly it all is. And then they mindlessly go out and get a new defective product with an artificially shortened life span. And so the cycle continues on and on, wasting a ton of money, and stressing the environment.

We can see this of course in clothes fashion, where some of ugliest clothes around are eagerly snapped up by consumers…until next year when the new fashion presents itself, and then “the old” is thrown out…and the cycle goes on and on. A lot of people, especially women, eagerly participate in the game because it gives them an excuse to be constantly shopping to feed their unstable wardrobes. It also becomes a kind of social game to try to spot trends and maintain their social status. Unfortunately is creates enormous waste and people who wear ugly clothes.

It is also true in architecture and especially house decorations. Some of the ugliest designs are constantly being presented to us and we are supposed to embrace them. It the renovation shows we see the “experts” incorporate elements which are too often ugly/impractical. I have seen an endless parade of puke colored walls, horrible tacky wallpaper, square bathroom sinks, ugly dark fake “wood”, and unattractive light fixtures. All of this stuff will be looked upon with revulsion in a few years, the way we now look upon olive colored shag carpeting,..which at the time was considered to be the height of cool and trendy…and now is considered to be horrible, and must be replaced as soon as possible.

Many quality usable pieces are torn out because they are “dated” and don´t conform to the latest fashion victim dictates. They are replaced by things that are often worse. Beautiful wood floors,-which should last for decades-are ripped out because the fashion now says that they have to all be dark wood with wide boards. In a few years those will in turn be torn out to put in light colored wood with narrow strips. A lot of perfectly good kitchens are destroyed wholesale, to make way for the latest fashion victim kitchen with limited life spans. The waste is incredible and unnecessary…but it juices sales. Some people even delight in going thru the hassle and huge expense of redoing their house every ten years or so, which I think is ridiculous, and great for landfills.

Cars nowadays are filled with all kinds of strange unnecessary details by desperate car manufacturers trying to always come up with something new and “exciting”, instead of something that actually works and looks good. Manneristic looks run wild. Interestingly Volkswagen, which has classic and practical designs, is one of the few auto companies doing well in this horrible recessionary market, despite the fact that VW is more expensive. Maybe people actually want intelligent design after all…at least in cars.

We would all do better if we insisted on quality design that lasts, and reject the latest mindless trends. We the consumers are ultimately in charge, but if we let the lords of fashion (the manufacturers) dictate what we buy and use, we will always be at the effect of their manipulations, which benefit them and not us.  We are brainwashed by the system to automatically adore whatever fashion trend is presented to us and to uncritically accept and support it.

Learning to think for oneself objectively is one of the hardest and most lacking skills in today´s society. We need to develop it more. Our educational system should promote critical independent thinking. Instead we mainly teach them rote skills and lots of facts, which is a part of education. But, people who have the skills to figure things out for themselves can become self learners for the rest of their lives, instead of passive imitators, who then go out and mindlessly follow fashion trends, even if they do not make sense.

We need to stop worshiping the latest fashion trend, and start evaluating whether this makes any sense or not. Learn to think for yourself.


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