Do you sometimes feel like everything looks the same?
Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but let me explain for a second. I was walking down the street with my friend Alexandra recently, and we passed by a new home decor store, and I asked her if she liked it. I loved her response:
“Yeah, it’s ok. I mean, it’s basically the ambient taste right now.”
Me: “What do you mean, ambient taste?”
“Oh, you know – it’s kind of what everyone likes these days, you see it everywhere, and you like it too without even really thinking about it.”
Oh, of course, that makes perfect sense. I have that feeling myself a lot of the time. It happens, for example, every time I see…
Brooklyn Vintage style
I’m not even going to talk about hipsters, I’ll spare you all that, but the whole fake old restaurant thing – chipped china so it looks used, artificially aged paintings – that I discovered in New York, has spread all over now, and it’s found its fullest expression in Brooklyn*. Coffee shops with their fake antique espresso machines with perfect shiny red paint are so prolific (even in Paris, where real antique Parisian bistros are all over the place) that we don’t even recognize it as a style. That’s probably why I love giving my eyes a break at my corner cafe in New York, called Fika – it’s got Scandinavian decor, it doesn’t really have the “ambient style” or any style at all, to be honest – almost to the point of me not really liking the decor, but at least it’s something different.
Instagram Blogger style
White jeans and skinny thighs with a coffee mug in hand, still life, magazine, glasses nonchalantly placed on the light wood table – not only does the style not differ much from one account to the next, but the poses are pretty much always the same, including the feet turned slightly inward.
But otherwise, I think I’m totally “ambient style”.
I’d laugh about it, if I didn’t realize that when it comes to apartments, I’m also a big cliché.
You just need to check out my Pinterest to get a little shock of normality with my:
Pinterest apartment style
It’s the mix of the big white sofa, white furry rug, some ethnic details and a few vintagy midcentury touches. You see what I mean?
It’s exactly my style, with the vacation home option for me – the day when I’ll have a hammock at my house, I’ll probably feel like I’ve finally won at life.
I realized this – not just from my Pinterest page, but last summer when I was looking for a not too ridiculously expensive sofa (you, know, because of my transition apartment thing**) and it was impossible for me to find a sofa that didn’t have a midcentury feel.
I mean, I really like the 50s and 60s, but right now, in New York, since it’s the only thing you can find, it’s ended up becoming really, really – I mean really – cheap and common.
So, of course, I finally settled on (drumroll, please) a big white sofa.
Though when it comes to Pinterest apartment style, it reassures me to think that I’ve had the same taste since I was 15, and that I’ll still have the same taste even when it’s not trendy anymore. Okay but actually, it’s still slightly worrying, and this all brings me back to my initial question, which will help you see why I’m talking about all of this in what was supposed to be an editor’s letter about the blog.
It’s because I’ve noticed that trends created online are incredibly powerful, and they tend to stick around for a long time because there’s no one to stop them.
Before this, magazines were telling us about trends, things had to change a little bit each season, and they had almost no way of knowing what readers actually liked. So it was up to editors to filter content and they had to try to create a unique point of view.
But with the internet, things are totally different. There are two things that have an influence on trends:
1/ How many likes something gets is what influences content – and since most sites are just in a race for likes, they publish things that are sure to be successful – so if white jeans and skinny thighs get a lot of likes, we can be sure to see them over and over, ad infinitum.
2/ Things that are posted link back to each other, by way of cookies (For example, the ads that follow you from site to site for those shoes you almost bought). You get ads that say “if you liked that, you’ll like this” and “if you follow this page, you’ll also like this one” so you end up seeing the same type of content over and over. It confines us within our own little worlds.
Even though diversity is just one click away, we don’t see it anymore – looking for it is becoming more and more complicated.
And since we’re only seeing content that has been specially selected for us so that we’ll like like like***, it’s easy to get bored very quickly. And to have the feeling that everything looks alike.
So, there you go. I don’t have any solutions to propose, other than telling you that personally, I think we’re eventually going to get sick of the culture of “likes” and we’ll move on to something new.
At the Studio, we don’t really pay attention to those things – we try to talk about what interests us personally, even if sometimes we are a little bit outside of the norm, and it may not be what most people like. It’s about trying to have a unique point of view, and that’s what we want to try to cultivate here more and more.
I’ll leave you on that note. I need to go take a shower, and pick out my white jeans for the day :)))
*I’m a little ashamed to say that I was tricked the first few times, and really thought I was in an old world Italian restaurant, even though “old world” really doesn’t mean anything in New York…
** Yes, of course, I’m still in my “transition apartment” – I think we are all familiar with those kinds of transitions…
*** Instagram is confusing for that reason, it’s always the same types of photos that get tons of likes. As soon as you move away from the typical colorful images or pretty landscapes, it seems like no one cares. You have to be strong to keep posting things that are a little different.
Bracelet, Aurélie Bidermann.
Translated by Andrea Perdue