Minimalism as a movement and invention started with music in the 1960s. Minimalism, as we know it now, the general appearance of transparent yet intellectual forms began a decade later when a pursuit for simplicity spread through art, architecture and interior design. Then, there were the 1990’s when minimalism as a philosophy of ready-to-wear conquered the fashion world, appeared on runways, and since then keeps coming back in one or another collection. The way trends exchange each other follows the process of overabundance. Thus, after the pompous expressions of Academic art or bright colours of the 1980s fashion reached its climax, the artists or the designers found themselves in need of the opposite vogue. Minimalism appeared but again, in more artistic form, rather than in a desire to live with less.
Then with the rapid growth of massively produced, affordable items, be it either furniture or clothes, the tactic of consumers changed. Trends dictated what to wear, and fast-fashion stores offered trendy garments with no warning where such behaviour of mindless consumerism could lead. More than the actions of consumers themselves, the world of art, fashion, the home design changed. Industries took the course to a cheaper and faster production, to make more than necessary and to make customers believe that they indeed need that it-bag of the season. According to one of the recent words of Giorgio Armani, “The decline of the fashion system, as we know it, began when the luxury sector adopted the fast fashion operating procedures with the continuous delivery cycle, hoping to sell more. I don’t want to work that way anymore, it’s immoral.”
Minimalism, first as a trend, a somewhat of opposition to materialism, later as lifestyle kept gaining its popularity among those who started realizing the immorality of the circle of fast-fashion. However, while one part of the population began investing in items more valuable and meaningful than one-time use things, the other larger part kept overproducing and over-consuming. It wouldn’t be hard to predict the scenario where one lives consciously, purchases wisely, cares enough about the impact on the environment and finds joy, not in materialism but in experiences and intellectual possessions, while another one keeps considering clothes disposable, and believes that no destroying circumstances would follow irresponsible consuming, yet the pandemic had to happen. Thus, the scenario had to change.
Joshua Becker, the WSJ Best-Selling author of “The More of Less” and “The Minimalist Home” in one of his articles, once mentioned that “minimalism means living with things you really need. It means removing anything that distracts us from living with intentionality and freedom.”
According to social media sources, the life routine of many, of most of us, changed critically. Despite uncertainties and ruined plans, the new schedule suggested activities that could substitute habitual and provided sources for cheerful spirit condition during the lockdown. People closed inside of their houses, started experimenting with clothes they already had instead of buying new, started painting, reading and baking bread. In fact, many began with intentional exercises that allowed the development of a mentality where materialistic means only food on the table, and comfort of a house. Movements under restriction, closed stores, ability to exchange shopping for more intellectual activity, even the fact that the financial future is unsecured suggested consideration of minimalism as a lifestyle. Consuming in the previous amounts merely has no more sense. More than common sense, lockdown hours and days had shown that comfortable living requires only a few essentials, only a few things that satisfy vision and taste, and nothing extra and unnecessary. Such indulgence as continuous shopping became unavailable, and the focus of minds had to turn to other sources of contentment.
Therefore, along with stated opinions of many figures in the fashion world, the last two months of the crisis indicated the future of the consuming habits. During the time of the quarantine, one could not help but notice that trends fade swiftly, but a well-arranged lifestyle or a wardrobe if one wants to start small, where each purchase was made mindfully, supports one through the time of distress. Minimalism, contrary to the popular idea of monotonous white walls and basic trench coats, is indeed something more than that. The mindset of eliminating clutter and destruction starts when one accepts the idea of following the genuine voice of the heart, rather than many voices that insist on the necessity to purchase more. After all, even if the trend for pure white walls and light coloured furniture passed, true minimalism is not about the appearance only. The mindset of wise weighing of each investment proves to show positive results on minds, closets and lives in general. Such a mindset, not as a visual trend, but a fundamental need that started during months of distress, will keep expanding. It will ultimately leave the fruitful result of the generations that are agreeable with themselves, considerable of others, those who put conscious actions before the hysteria of ignorant purchasing. And that is the minimalism of the future.
Maria Kossman is a creative writer, essayist and blogger based in Edmonton, Canada. Passionate about sustainable living, minimalism, travelling, and anything antique, she focuses on advocating life that is inspiring, mindful and elegant.