Our Cash and Our Closets

Kirsi Niinimaki and Ilpo Koskinen proposed that “designers need to aim at enhancing long term product relationships” and to promote sustainability. Empathetic design and enhanced product quality are ways that this can be done. It is common for the present day American consumer to purchase goods knowing he or she might have to repurchase a similar product after a year or so. The mindset of the American consumer focuses on the short-term fulfillment of a cheap and quick buy—knowing that the lifespan of the product is far from guaranteed. We live in a world that cheap and chic is key when purchasing apparel goods. The more goods purchased and disposed of annually the more stuff we have cluttering our landfills. We are purchasing a lot more products annually than our ancestors from previous centuries—keep doing so and the problem will continue to get worse. If we are to strive towards being a more sustainable culture I believe a good place we can start is with our cash and our closets.

The points brought up in the article made me think of the Arts and Crafts Movement that originated in the 19th century. The Arts and Crafts Movement focused efforts towards well made, hand crafted products when industrial labor was becoming the primary means for product production. The movement was a movement towards reform that valued the craftsmanship and reliability of well-made goods. However, the movement also focused on good aesthetic design. This movement is something our society can learn from in regards to well made products that are still aesthetically pleasing. By being wise with our buying power and purchasing products that will last longer and remain in style we can become more sustainable. Our purchases have become an addiction and we are becoming like hoarders—only our purchases aren’t filling our homes with clutter because we dispose of them or get rid of them quickly.

I truly believe if we were to value craftsmanship and well made products our rate of disposing products would decrease. There would be less of a reason to trash or get rid of products because they would be reliable—which as stated in the article would also “enhance long term product relationships”.

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