What is authenticity?
Can you be your ideal self at all times? Or at least most of the time?
Can you show up as who you are? If the answer is yes, then that’s authenticity. Can you attribute the words genuine, truthful, and reliable to authenticity? I think we’d all agree on that.
What is luxury?
Would you agree that in today’s world luxury is more about being present and paying attention rather than being exclusive and selectively privileged? Would you also agree to the fact that luxury is moving towards becoming demystified and more transparent? If yes, then you could read further.
What is authenticity in design?
As designers can you create only those things that you believe will add value to yourself, to the market, and to the planet at large? Can you stop trying too hard to sell your product because you know that authenticity is sexy and desirable and because of that your product will ultimately be sold?
As buyers can you start buying things that match your true personality and help in enhancing your self-expression as opposed to molding you into someone who is trying hard to be acceptable? Do you believe that you need to embrace designs and products which can fill a gap in your self-confidence and self-worth? If you answered ‘yes’, you have serious work to do - you have to reclaim yourself and surround yourself with designs and products that either reflect your true self or help you in transitioning into a higher version of yourself.
What is luxury in design now?
I have come to believe that luxury in design has a lot to do with how much human attention and intelligence and what kind of human emotions have gone into the making of that design.
Talking about human attention - What does the wrong side of the product look like? How well have the insides of the product been finished?
Talking about human intelligence - What does the designer want me to experience with the product offering? Is the company trying to make me feel a fear of losing out in case I miss buying into this trend? Or is the company making me feel a sense of empowerment (theory of enclothed cognition) by investing in a great design that supports a team of passionate creatives who want to bring beauty into this world?
Talking about human emotions - What was the state of mind of the people who made the product? Were they happy while working in those conditions and in that company? Were they creating from a sense of joy or despair? Was this product created in a cheap third world country where the maker wasn’t even paid a fair living wage?
Why could they be related?
When we combine the practice of investing in products that reflect and enhance our true personalities along with reviewing and redefining the term luxury, we end up in a world of free designers and free consumers. (On this note, I am reminded of the iconic Howard Roark)
Free designers are those designers who’s mood board do not look like imitation boards. Free designers are those creatives who let heir values of responsible design and production practices enhance the uniqueness and story of their products. They are free because they are unbound by the dictates of traditional media. They are free because they
create with respect towards human life; their own and those that work for them and freely demand a fair price for it.
Free consumers are those privileged people who feel touched by the lives of designers whether they invest in their product or not. Free consumers are those who are allowed to have a mind of their own and who demand to have a mind of their own. Free consumers are those that have the luxury of rejecting a product that doesn’t get them closer to a higher and better version of themselves. Free consumers have the luxury of buying from a transparent young company while rejecting a global brand’s unethically made one. A free consumer has the luxury of investing in a high-end beautifully made design while rejecting the use-and-throw cheap product of a retailer.
And these two kinds of free people create a free and abundant design and consumption environment which is informed by intelligence and higher consciousness rather than a redundant herd mentality.