|Stock Market ASX Board Friday August 5th 2011|
As the world teeters on the edge of a recurring financial abyss I was tempted to reflect on the current parallels in Australian retail. If you take a hefty dose of ambien and go to any large-scale shopping mall you'll be greeted by some frighteningly familiar scenarios. Sparkling shrines to Mammon filled with enough glass and plastic bling to bring tears to the eyes of Ali Baba. Faux wooden parquetry flooring (bleached of course) paired with reconstituted stone sheeting on walls and entrances. Generic stores with advertising campaigns (with 'exclusivity' in the byline) while in the centre around the corner the same brand in the same configuration sells the same products. One would think marketers have mistaken consumers for lemmings!
If the image of 'The Emperors New Clothes' springs to mind I don't think you'd be far from the core of our retail woes. Campaign directors would prefer we sat poised on the fence between consumerism and gluttony in order to perpetuate the traditional cycle of expansion. What is abundantly clear is that we are looking to reconnect to quality and also the provenance of the pieces we purchase. We have been sold so much 'stuff' that our heaving closets and shelves of celebrity cookbooks literally make us question whether we have a psychological disorder.
I have never meant this blog to be a political soapbox but I feel so vindicated by the fact that people are turning back to the traditional arts and crafts in droves In a world of lightening-fast technology it's allowing us to express individuality, a form of social currency in a retail environment where true choice is being stripped away. I'm sure that the brave new world we are entering will be a place where small-scale design enterprises will have a greater legacy than the anonymous mega-chains we see today.