Monday, August 21, 2017


The Romp-Him. If it's such a trend,
why isn't anyone wearing it?
If you've ever seen reporting on those purportedly trend-setting New York fashion shows, you'll be familiar with the sight of models strolling the runway exhibiting outfits made of aluminum foil, Handi-Wipes, or old inner tubes. The latest such trend—or so we're told—is the RompHim, a sort of baby suit for grownup men. Fashionistas tell us—with straight faces—that this is the men's look of the future. Maybe so, but I think I'll just wait and see.

While most people find fashion shows amusing at best, fashion-industry types take them very seriously indeed. There’s a good reason: At last report, clothing fashions alone represented a $1.7 trillion industry worldwide. Add to that the changing fashions of the furniture and appliance industries, not to mention those of interior decoration, and you’re talking some real money.

And a good morning to you, too, madam.
Which inevitably brings us to architecture. Too often, when fashion gets its fluffy paws into residential design, it leaves the homeowner with the aesthetic equivalent of a RompHim. Today’s hottest home fashions can turn ice cold in a few short years—anyone with a black refrigerator can tell you that.

For the most part, residential fashion trends are simply a means of stirring the home industry’s economic pot. Unlike genuine innovations—such as new materials or methods of installation—changes engendered by fashion alone have no functional basis. They’re formulated solely to startle the consumer’s jaded eye.
I'm not sure he's convinced either.
During the early 2000s, for example, chic design magazines relentlessly showcased barren, urban-hipster interiors in which you might find only a chair, a cactus, and an unfathomable piece of artwork to break the chill. This look, we were assured, was the cat’s meow.

Fortunately, most people had the common sense to see that such interiors were utterly unlivable, so this manufactured “trend” never progressed beyond what it really was—a rather forced fashion statement inflated to epic proportions.

If they're just kidding,
why isn't this lady laughing?
While it’s easy to ridicule certain architecture magazines for their permanent enslavement to evanescent fads, it’s architects and interior designers who provide the subject matter. They’re only human, and are themselves susceptible to the tidal pulls of fashion.

Consequently, while you should take the suggestions of design professionals seriously, you should never cede your judgment to them completely. Maintain your own voting rights. If your architect or designer suggests colors or materials that don’t appeal to you, or that you feel may be too trendy, don’t be afraid to exercise your veto power.

Lastly, don’t worry if your own preferences aren’t fashionable at the moment. There's no shame in being un-trendy. You'll probably look a lot less silly down the road.

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