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The Key Theme Of Nostalgia Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1735 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Nostalgia has always been a key theme in design work now. It seems to have become even more prevalent during the recession, a way of creating a comforting, aestetically pleasing and childlike environment to live. Nostalgia is so important to people its a way of collecting souvenirs and memories of the past For many people their childhood was a happy time, kidstons prints have a very childlike aesthetic. Cowgirls, simple spots, floral, very soft femine homely feels. Cath kidston has become the queen of this nostalgic revival “her prints have become as ubiquitous over the last 10 years as Ashleys romantic prints were in the 70,s.ppezoe wood guardian.co.uk . “Cath kidston is the new laura ashely”, claimed Lorna Hall, the retail editor of the fashion trends website WGSN.”The brand keys into the same aesthetic, with its dream like nostalgia, for many it is a way of nest without all the hard work involved in nesting” Woman of today are embracing the domestic housewife idyll. With the change in economic climate people have started to eat in more, stick with and re decorate their homes instead of moving, women have tapped into the make do and mend, bake your own cake mentality. Cath kidston has very successfuly tapped into the zeigest of her time, when she started her business in 1993 she was the pioneer of retro prints, hand embroidered cushions, white washed furniture, so what made her take off so well? Its because people liked what they saw her products were practical, quirky, affordable and pretty all qualities which appealed to the domestic women of today. Her prints are now available, on nokia phones, tesco carrier bags, sky boxes and Roberts radios. This movement into different fields gives kidston and even broader client appeal.

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Design is becoming increasingly popular within society governments are becoming more aware of its importance to society as a whole. Successful design creates larger profits eventually leading to larger economic growth. “an obsession with design and style among so many in Britain during the 1980,s is a mask or compensation for a spiritual lack” vii Design history and the history of design. At times of economic recession consumers seek solace from their financial situations and revel in consumerism. “good design is not simply a question of taste or style, it is literally a matter of life and death” vii Design history and the history of design. Design is so important because it is a blend between art and industry. Its the showcase for creativity which intern creates customers’ and profits. “…Design is the conscious effort to impose meaningful order” Page 31 Design History and the history of design. Design is such an integral part of human life. Maybe the style in which we choose for our homes, clothing, cars alters our own and others peoples perceptions of us. This is probably why when one trend surfaces and begins to flourish other people tap into it and it becomes a new style trend over night gradually large numbers of society tap into its idyll. People like to feel part of society as a whole, probably why businesses such as Cath Kidston are s successful. Her idyll is the chintzy nostalgic domestic housewife, and she has been so advantageous for such a long period of time.”Art historians considered style vital because they thought of it as the outward manifestation of the inner being of a person, social group or an age” pg 153 Design history and the history of design. When people look into a certain style and trend they can gain an enormous amount of information regarding cultural, ethical, social, moral and economic factors. Nicos Hadjinicolaou describes style as ” a particular form of the overall ideology of a social class” pg 153 Design history and the history of design. If people begin to understand these changes in style and design they will become more aware of cultural evolution as a whole. The way in which products are styled and advertised has become as or more important that the object itself. As soon as a product is deemed off trend or too dominant within the market people migrate onto the next new thing. Its likely that when this change happens within one design form the others alter with it. People begin to manifest their general feelings and emotions through changes in style to their clothes, homes, cars. “Increasing affluence and social mobility has enabled whole sectors of society to purchase lifestyle off the peg”p167

“in terms of social function, a lifestyle offers a sense of identity but it is also a device for reducing the anxiety caused by having to much choice” p168. This could also identity why one trend kicks off, why so many people follow it because they to wish to spend time and effort identifying an alternative.

“Brands are merely a badge, a promise of quality, an assurance of consistency”. http://brandcameo.org/features_effect.asp?pf_id=249 . We as the consumer buy into this mentally so well because we believe the whole ethos a retailer is selling us, we home in on elements that fit our own aesthetic and then purchase things accordingly. Some people don’t want to follow trend “.. i want to make my own statement rather than borrowing something from a fashion retailer” The woman may have made this statemenjt because people don’t like to be controlled or told how to thing, or how to shop. Sometimes the message are subconsciously viewed and our desision naltered even without us knowing. . “Ernst and Young show that over 90% of products try and fail to become brands”…if there was any element of control or influence there wouldn’t be that kind of failure rate” this quote shows which products fail and which succed to become brand trends, is completly down to the transient climate at the time, people attitudes and economic climate oh and possibly luck. Consumers are bombarded with an estimated 3000 marketing messages a day, which they chose to conform with consciously or subciously.

A persons home is not merely a representation of trends of the day but a visualisation of the person itself, “.. homes become material manifestations of their personal identities”pg73 Interior design and identity. This is probably why people invest so much time and effort in creating a home which represents them well, as the sort of person they want others to see them as. Conforming to social trends is a may of a majority showing its power over the minority.

Jan Constantine is another interior textile designer who seems to have weathered t he current recession well, her work has gone from strength to strength. Her work has been published in many homes magazines, she seems to have tapped in on the union jack phenomenon which swept Britain in the early summer, and is still prevailing now. The Union Jack style, has did the Union Jack go from chavvy to charming?” Annie Deakins. The connotations of the Union Jack have altered in the last few months from tacky or an emblem for the BNP to a high street patriotic trend. Large retail companies such as Debenhams and Topshop used it in their summer collections, when brands like this tap into a trend the majority of the high street follows. These companies are described as “Barometers for our countries thinking”. The union jack had also become a sign for all this British, tea parties, picnics, street parties, Its a simple that unites people and represents British values and traditions. The colour way of the flag has been altered in some designs even recreated in floral patchwork. Jan Constantine concept is that her products are “Designed for today, destined to be heirlooms of the future” CrossSticher magazine. This comment implies a dislike of the throw away mentality of consumers today, she is tapping into the crafty bespoke aesthetic. Her work is hand worked and uses natural silks, cotton and linens .Constantine’s work was spotted Buy a Libertys buyer at the Country Living fair and thats how the phenomenon started, she is now also available in many “yummy mummy” shops around the country. As well as the union jack the word Love is another symbol used, “…”Everybody really likes it, its my best seller! There’s something to say about that.”This shows how people like words and symbols that provoke meaning and memories. Its also an aesthetically nice word to look at.

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On one hand at the present time there is the expensive, exclusive one off designs and on the other is the push towards design for all, accessible affordable and mass produced. At the moment there is a clear divide between these two methods of production, but the designs themselves can be relatively similar just the ethics and values behind them are altered. Once you have designed a “Look” it can be reproduced on everything, cushions, clothes, pencil cases, wallpaper. Covering from high end to cheaper mainstream. This way a trend becomes accesibble to all across the social economic scale and once a look has broken into the market it is often published in many fashion and interior magazines thus reinforcing the trend.

“I’d have thought it was all about flexibility and agility – the flexibility for designs to be used in multiple scenarios for multiple consumer groups, and the agility to quickly and easily modify designs to meet changed demands with minimal lead time and cost for both design and manufacture – all requiring a degree of standardisation and componentisation of design parameters”

Multi channelling retail has made it even more accessible to purchase products, For most interior design companies, there products are available, through shops, via the internet and by catalougue. People can now access the internet via their phones, This wealth of information probably means new designs filter out in the mass market much quicker than they did a decade ago, but this could also mean thing that become “on trend” become unfashtionable even quicker. There has been a movement towards the anti brand which is concerned with sustainability and recycling, and a lengthened life cycle of a product.


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