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A quarantine of consumption

‘A quarantine of consumption’ – not my phrase but one that powerfully stayed with me from a recent article by Marcus Fairs  in dezeeen.com .  It was coined by Li Edelkoort in an interview – the full transcript of which is available in this link.  Edelkoort was born in the Netherlands in 1950 and is regarded as one of the world’s most influential trend forecasters, advising fashion companies and consumer brands around the world.  So she is fully tuned in to the reality of way the markets operate.

At the outset  she says:

“As a prime target for this virus, because of my old age and history of respiratory illnesses, I am aware of the immediate dangers and threats this represents for people all over the world. And I am very sad for the families of the people that already gave their lives to this new illness. Hopefully, they did not die in vain as the world will strive to resurrect human dignity and survival”.

In this News piece it is really worth sharing some action-provoking and thought-provoking signposts from this interview, which really merits reading in its entirety.

For several years we have understood that in order to survive as a species and to keep the planet going we need to make draconian changes to the way we live, travel, consume and entertain. There is no way we can continue to produce as many goods and the many choices we have grown accustomed to. The debilitating mass of information about nothing at all has numbed our culture. There is a growing awareness amongst younger generations that ownership and the hoarding of clothes and cars is no longer even attractive.


It seems we are massively entering a quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful. The impact of the virus will be cultural and crucial to building an alternative and profoundly different world.


The recent pictures of the air above China showed how two months without production cleared the skies and allowed people to breathe again. This means that the virus will show how slowing and shutting down can produce a better environment which will surely be visible on a large scale. If we include air and boat travel, holiday travel, business travel and transport, the clean up should be considerable.

She concludes:

Therefore, if we are wise – which sadly we now know we aren’t – we will start up again with new rules and regulations, allowing countries to get back to their knowhow and specific qualities, introducing cottage industries that would flourish and grow into an arts-and-crafts century, where manual labour is cherished above everything else.

Edelkoort believes that the Coronavirus offers us a ‘blank page fora  new beginning’.

See article in full HERE


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