This article titled “Selfie v shelfie: fashion’s growing appetite for interiors” was written by Scarlett Conlon, for The Guardian on Wednesday 30th January 2019 12.00 UTC
Forget about athleisure, ugly trainers and logomania, the most dominant trend to have gripped the masses in recent years is interiors. The fashion world is currently consumed by a homeware obsession – making the “shelfie” the new selfie.
It’s not a hard trend to hunt down. On social media, aesthetically pleasing backgrounds now get at least as much attention as the outfits we post photographs of. Elsewhere on our feeds, Peggy Guggenheim’s terrazzo-tiled palazzo in Venice, the quiet sophistication of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and the sugary millennial-pink interior of the tea room at Sketch in London are just as likely to be pictured as a new pair of shoes. The hashtag #IHaveThisThingWithTiles has become as commonplace as #TodayI’mWearing, while Le Corbusier is the new Calvin Klein and Charlotte Perriand the new Prada.
The two worlds have merged to create complementary – if co-dependant – style statements and, as a host of established players enter the fray, buying a cushion with your coat is set to become cheaper and more accessible than ever. Hot on the heels of River Island launching its 160-piece in-house collection last September (its head of homeware, Dayna Sofair declared that “style doesn’t end at our clothes”), Asos launches its first homeware line, Supply, next Monday. River Island promises that “customers will be able to shop the looks [priced between £6 for a mug to £275 for a rug] easily and refresh and update their home seasonally” just as they would with their wardrobes. Similarly, Asos’s “living” range, which starts at £8, is “inspired by seasonal trends and packed with innovative pieces for your home that are as individual as you are”.
“It’s a natural extension of accessorising in fashion in the way you might buy something to cheer an outfit up; the equivalent is buying a cushion for your sofa or a vase for your mantlepiece,” says Vogue’s fashion features editor, Ellie Pithers. She too credits Instagram for the rate at which we are consuming images of people’s houses, hence increasing our appetite for interiors (witness the Italian fashion brand Bottega Veneta this week releasing its spring 2019 campaign, in which the chrome and snakeskin chair the model sat on stole the show). “The next stage of showing off your good taste is extended to your house.”
The new offering from Asos – which self-identifies as “a global fashion destination for 20-somethings” – promises to work, says Pithers, because it is targeting young trend-driven shoppers who don’t have a lot of space or money. “They haven’t focused on big furniture, because their customers are students who don’t have big flats.” Instead, they can “buy a standard sofa from Ikea then beautify it with lots of nice little bits”, such as placing a wicker wastepaper basket, a printed plate or a water jug nearby. River Island’s bestsellers so far – a coaster, a planter and a leopard-print mug –chime with this psychology.
That the popularity of interiors has coincided with the rise of the Swedish H&M group on the high street is no coincidence. The group capitalised on the mid-century Scandinavian aesthetic – one of the most prevailing interiors trends of this century – by bottling the formula, firstly through its H&M Home brand and then with Arket, which launched in 2017. “Arket has been clever,” says Pithers. “The way they have the homewares by the till. Instead of buying a chocolate bar on the way out of the newsagent, you’re buying a little vase or a pack of matches that doesn’t cost very much and cheers you up.”
When it comes to fashion, quick-fix, fast interiors are the new food for thought. And they’re always ready for a close-up.
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