trust = transparency
transparency = more interesting
more interesting = a story
a story = heirloom quality
mass production has finally fully evolved and no longer symbolizes that jcpenney, post ww2 mentality of trust and quality. mass production serves its purpose in the commodity sector and can even be utilized as a design concept/story (ikea, target, even muji).
contrary to the commodity aesthetic, the more obvious "heirloom" aesthetic has been the key to success for the likes of urban outfitters and anthropologie. "heirloom" products (just made that up, but feel free to use it. heh) are transparent. you know who made them (or at least are led to believe that you do) and how they were made (i.e. etsy). you see mistakes, but you are ok with it.
as in any designery discussion, i MUST bring up apple... apple is an institution- perhaps a religion- built on transparency (whether or not you can easily replace a battery in an ipod/iphone. get over it). their aesthetic aside, apple products are sold in boutique stores. apple is as "honest" as possible to the customers, putting geniuses and associates on the floor to assist customers, appease the angered and find solutions. they give apple a face... a face second to that of steve jobs. steve jobs is as much of a household name in brooklyn heights, nyc as he is in archbold, ohio (population 4500). you know he's in charge, you can trust that he will be wearing a black mock turtle neck. next in line is jon ives. beautiful, talented jon ives. dare you to name a dell designer or hp designer....
so my first thoughts on "post-consumerism" products... every product must have a story. any story. whether it's a simple umbrella "i got it at ikea" story or "this girl in oklahoma finds naturally shed deer antlers, carves miniature yard gnomes out of them and 10% the proceeds go to the humane society" kind of story, it's imperative.
more baudrillard, but i promise, it's good:
"Obscenity begins when there is no more spectacle, no more stage, no more theatre, no more illusions, when everything becomes immediately transparent, visible, exposed in the raw and inexorable light of information and communication. We no longer partake in the drama of alienation, but are in the ecstasy of communication"
and this world that we're living in is a little unsettling. it's a recession, but it's imperative. we're being sent to our rooms to think about what we've done (..."you, me, everyone we know" reference. anyone?). all these "things" that are happening are communication. we are finally engaging in real communication.