When poet e.e. cummings shared the wisdom ”It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are,” he could have been standing in a suburban Pottery Barn and lamenting the throngs of the young trying desperately to achieve the “look.”
That “look” has been carefully crafted and honed by the catalog brilliance of marketing geniuses at Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.
To make matters worse, they get ’em while they are young and impressionable. The lifestyle catalogs appeal to recent college grads that have spent the past 4 years justifiably more focused on the philosophy of Descartes than the philosophy of finding their true design style.
Time off from classes and a trip to the mall simply reinforce the experience of the lifestyle look. Those catalog pages come to life in the confines of a slick, upscale shopping center.
It is here that the young future consumer can imagine just how perfect life will be when these room vignettes are a real possibility.
Now the “look” is emotionally paired with a future that is devoid of study groups, when marriage is a possibility and when a paycheck is real.
It is no wonder that bridal registries are ripe with dreams from Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and “Resto.”
I have big news from the decorating self-actualization front. There is a new breed on the horizon.
In the past month, we have been inundated with bright young people who are headed off to Ball State, IU, Purdue and schools off of the Indiana radar.
These bright young minds are no longer falling for the pre-fab lifestyle look. They are no longer being duped into thinking that there is only one way to a well decorated space. They are no longer being deluded into the idea that if they could only pluck a room from a catalog page, then life would be good.
Nope, sorry catalog giants. This generation wants who they are to be reflected in their surroundings. They are creative and brave. They aren’t afraid to be different.
So to Hannah and Molly, to Sarah, to Rachel and to Claire…I applaud your individuality. As a designer, I bask in the thought that someday, when a dorm room is a thing of the past, you will be the generation that returns to our society to spaces that are well designed to suit your lifestyle…not those dictated by a marketing professional.
As Dr. Suess once penned: “You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?”