Less but bet­ter

Wallpaper - - Editor’s Letter - Tony Cham­bers, Brand & Con­tent Di­rec­tor

We hear more and more that the younger gen­er­a­tions are less in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing and own­ing things. They pre­fer to spend their money on ex­pe­ri­ences. Self-im­prov­ing hol­i­days, cul­ture, live per­for­mances, eat­ing out, eat­ing in, yoga re­treats, hik­ing Machu Pic­chu. While foren­si­cally doc­u­ment­ing it all on so­cial me­dia of course. This nat­u­rally has been send­ing shock waves through the lux­ury in­dus­tries. If this con­tin­ues, soon no­body will be buy­ing their prod­ucts – no mat­ter how good they are or how se­duc­tive their mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

But I beg to dif­fer. I re­ally don’t see that the love of ex­pe­ri­ences is at odds with the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of well-de­signed, well-made goods. They are far from mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. The stuff that sur­rounds the ex­pe­ri­ence is still sig­nif­i­cant, if not more so. The en­joy­ment of a good wine is en­hanced by the ex­pe­ri­ence of drink­ing it from fine glass­ware. The rus­tle of tis­sue pa­per when you take out a new pair of socks is a plea­sur­able ex­pe­ri­ence. Qual­ity lug­gage – that should last a life­time – makes your jour­ney that much more plea­sur­able and, like your favourite watch or piece of jew­ellery, with time will be im­bued with mean­ing­ful mem­o­ries. The best stores, the bricks and mor­tar sort, now of­fer their own sort of ex­pe­ri­en­tial high; part art gallery, lec­ture hall, so­cial space but al­ways ded­i­cated to en­hanc­ing the act of re­tail con­sum­ma­tion.

Of course, we all now un­der­stand the en­dor­phin surge, the quick chem­i­cal hit, of buy­ing stuff. ‘Un­box­ing’ videos go vi­ral as we en­joy the vi­car­i­ous thrill of watch­ing other peo­ple un­peel the pack­ag­ing off buried trea­sures. And Ap­ple and oth­ers have re­de­fined the art and science of cel­lo­phane and card­board boxes, given them ex­tra­or­di­nary lev­els of care and at­ten­tion. But the best brands, their de­sign­ers, mak­ers and crafts­men, know that a great prod­uct has to keep de­liv­er­ing on an ex­pe­ri­en­tial level, to be­come part of the way we do things and en­joy things, change our be­hav­iours and en­hance our ex­pe­ri­ences.

I’m op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the busi­nesses and in­dus­tries that we con­tinue to cham­pion in Wall­pa­per*. This more thought­ful, well-ed­u­cated and con­sci­en­tious con­sumer is a good thing. They may well buy a lit­tle less, but they’ll be buy­ing bet­ter. Less but bet­ter, to quote Di­eter Rams, is the way for­ward.

Clock­wise from top left, a Ri­mowa suit­case (page 130); the ‘Galop’ bag, by Her­mès (page 079); John Lobb’s seam­less shoes (page 095); and the be­spoke watch de­signed by Laps for Wall­pa­per* (page 096)

News­stand cover

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Brigitte Nie­der­mair

Fash­ion: Is­abelle Koun­toure

Dress, price on re­quest, by Loewe. For full cred­its, see page 162

Wall­pa­per* is printed on UPM Star, upm.com

Lim­ited-edi­tion cover by Lorna Simpson

US artist Simpson cre­ated our spe­cial col­laged cov­ers,

Older Queen and Adrift. See in­ter­view, page 104

Lim­ited-edi­tion cov­ers are avail­able to sub­scribers, see Wall­pa­per.com

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