What kind of life will we have after the pandemic? No one really knows. I have participated in interviews, read papers and talked to some intelligent people. Here are my toughs on what will see.
Goodbye ego, self-centred behaviour and money. Sweden just declared that they will close the ten-year running tv show “Swedish Housewifes of Hollywood”. This has been a tv show about the shallow and exotic lifestyle of wealthy Swedes in America. Now gone. I believe we will see less of the Kardashians and less of the Million Dollar Listing. We are upset with brands raising the price of hand sanitation with 900 % just because of demand.
Egoism as a lifestyle might have been “out” for a while, but it intensifies during these times. Another thing we saw 2019 was the wave of anti-consumerism. Yes, no one is buying anything any longer. A national and international lockdown means fewer and fewer people are shopping. You could analyse this from different angles. Perhaps we don’t want to buy another t-shirt when we are working from home. Or perhaps we all of a sudden feel responsible and want to save Earth. We all know we are over-consuming this planet so this is a good opportunity to do something else.
This of course means that the design industry or interior design industry will be really, really badly hit. Who wants to talk about a new sofa during a pandemic? Who wants to buy a new table set?
I believe that the longer we will have shops closed, the longer we will be accustomed to our ordinary old things with out changing them. Closing the design week in Milan and the international fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, London etc… This could mean that we won’t even see any new things. Our behaviour of constantly changing our homes could stop in the long run.
You might say that people are buying online, but if you look at stock listed Zoolando, they are also affected by this anti-consumerism.
Next observation. Technology. Two weeks ago, I attended a fancy VIP dinner over Zoom or Meetings. I am a slow adopter to new technology, but it was pretty ok. After that I have meetings almost every day over some kind of video chat. The question is of course, what behaviour will stay. Meeting a person in real life obviously trumps video chat, but what is acceptable? Staff meetings? Cold call sales meetings? Students are forced to do classes online – should we change the way we do schools?
One report I read, said that voice control will stick stronger now. After corona we don’t want to touch things. It is easier to ask Siri or Alexa to open the door rather than use your hands and then wash them for “two happy birthday to you”.
A third observation is more a wish than an actual fact. It is said that we are forced to see and understand the value chains. If the government close all restaurants because of a lockdown, then the farmers can’t sell their potatoes. And if the farmers can’t sell their crops then they won’t buy any new equipment. And if the shovel producers aren’t selling any new gear, then they won’t invest in any new design, etc, etc. Everything is connected. The hope is that we understand this, and also act from it. Support local production.
There are a few consequences to this reasoning. First, we want to keep our supplies close. When China closed at the initial stages of the pandemic, we wanted to move production closer. And this will grow. Local, local, local. And this of course means that globalisation is dying. Back to the roots. And we will have to get used to things being more expensive and perhaps running out of stock. But maybe that is good, because we will be shopping less anyway.
My last point – we want to have a good time. After dark times like we will look for a fresh new start, meet eachother and have fun. With a new start we want a new aesthetic. I read that when women got the right to vote in the US, a new aesthetic in hairstyle came about. Women started wearing shorter hair on a bob, as a sign of a new womanhood. We saw that also after the wars of last century – regardless of it was the World Wars or the Vietnam war. A new aesthetic is needed in design. Out with the old and bring on some new things. I started this piece talking about how we don’t want to be force-fed the lifestyle of the Kardashians. This is the old. Instead I am sure we will look for newness in people who are fun and driven by altruism.
So, get ready. The pandemic will end. And when it does, we will see a whole new world. We will buy fewer thing, but local stuff and with a whole new aesthetics. And remember to be nice, compassionate, passionate and generous. We will invest in brands that are nice – not fancy.