I came across one article this morning that raises the question if minimalism is basically the new equivalent of yoga, kale and green smoothies for rich people of the valley. You can read the original article here, on The Guardian.
The article raises a question whether or not is minimalism just the new way of consumerism and even though I agree with the lifestyle turning into massive bubble that everyone is obsessing with and I get the necessity of critique or questioning the style especially when it's pass its peak of trend, I think the author was just biased and out of line hateful without digging deeper into minimalism's roots and trying to understand why this is happening.
I really wanted to comment and express my opinion about the matter because I don't consider myself a minimalist from a lifestyle point of view as I am suffocating in the amount of shoes, cosmetics, books, arts and crafts tools and photography equipment stuffed in boyfriend's apartment, but I do love the aesthetic of it and I am trying to incorporate it in my life and mostly I appreciate what minimalism becoming mainstream does to public. Maybe I won't use such a profound language since I am not an English native speaker, but you'll get my point.
Aesthetic and minimalism in art
Let's start with the aesthetic of it because art is where the minimalism originates from. Before it became art direction it was a thought that sparked all modernist desire to simplify art styles either by color, shape, technique... I won't go into the depth because that would require to dig out all the notebooks from art history class notebooks from high school and college as I have a terrible memory for names but look for cubism, suprematism (not the KKK shit but look for the name Malevich), De Stijl pretty much all modernism styles. It is ridiculous to say that minimalism is only an aesthetic in the negative sense when it was one from the beginning.
Yes, as the society's interest in art is shifting, minimalism gets into our homes in a form of interior design but why would that be wrong? Interior design is form of applied art for once same as fashion design, why would that be something to judge? Remember, I am still talking about the aesthetic only.
Minimalism in day-to-day life
Since I already mentioned interior design and fashion, the original article throws a mud on minimalism being the "fastest way to be chic" and that is water to my mill (Czech expression).
Fashion changes all the time, the styles, patterns and cuts, all is re-cycled every season. But we saw some pieces to be worn all the time and never go out of style - denim jeans, single color t-shirts, white shirt, black leather jacket and a black suit jacket, little black dress. Those are the pieces that everyone has in their wardrobe and can wear any time and that's why it became base for creating a capsule wardrobe that everyone talks about now. Maybe we just grew tired of changing trends every season as it costs us money and space. So what is so wrong of having perfectly curated capsule wardrobe containing more expensive but better quality pieces?
If we look at successful people who gave something to society, they mastered what's called uniform dressing or clothing. Look at Steve Jobs and his jeans with black turtle neck, Bill Gates with shirt and jeans, Mark Zuckerberg wearing jeans and gray t-shirt. What might seems as a lack of inspiration is actually simplifying things as simple as getting dressed every morning. So if you find what is working for you, you look great and feel great in it, go ahead do that. You don't need to be bothered with the latest trends, everything in your closet matches with each other, everything fits and people will start to recognize your signature style.
The capsule wardrobe is great for the environment as it reduces your shopping needs and creates less waste, it has effect on the mass production chain and saves you money that you can invest in something of a local production, higher quality and fairly paid work.
As for the interiors, less clutter, easier clean up. Curated pieces that match, less distraction for your eyes. White-on-white in the house? Easier to decorate and change the mood of your house with just simply changing color of pillows. Marble or wooden decoration? Natural materials in your home. Why on earth is this wrong?
What I see as a problem with minimalism is, it became a cult. And maybe that's what author of the article meant in the first place. Maybe it was just frustration of how minimalism became this "hot topic" of every youtube video or blog post. Some youtubers admit their traffic came from doing minimalism videos where they all repeat basically the same things and their subscribers bash them for wearing a mascara because "that's not the minimalist way". I am frustrated with this also. This is exactly what sparks the judgement on people who are living minimalist lifestyle. It makes public think that true minimalist are some hippies not wearing any deodorant because when they have the bottle in their bathroom they are unhappy. I get that.
I had to check google trends analytics to see how is minimalism doing in search data.
You can see that since The Minimalist podcast started in late 2015, there has been slight increase of the interest in the topic but then there is massive growth with release of their documentary. It is CRAZY but it also says something about society. We are overwhelmed by the stuff we surround ourselves with and we desire much more simple ways to live.
To be honest, I get the author's frustration with superficial society and to some point the overuse of the concept upsets me as well but nobody should feel bad for liking some aesthetic even if it is trend or not. And even though adding #minimalism or #minimalove might be raping the original concept and helping to establish the movement as a new consumerism trend, why would we stop posting it as long as there is a group of people that resonates with it same way as we do. At least it will beat the stupid trend of glamorizing shopping hauls.