I can guess what you’re thinking. That I’ve lost my mind, right? That I should be happy that an interiors trend that focuses on creating a well travelled home has come to the fore? Ok, on some level, it is super satisfying to see glossy magazines confirm the fact that an eclectic home full of global influences is a winner* (*does mini fist pump). And I have been wooed before by a high street brand embracing the global look – here. But, on further reflection, I’m just not convinced this trend is a good thing. Here are my reasons why.
Reason 1: A well travelled home is not simply a passing trend
I hate the idea that the collection and display of pieces you’ve picked up on your travels, or the styles, textures and colours from other cultures and destinations you’ve incorporated at home could be a fad. A passing fancy that you’ll box up when it becomes out of date. What nonsense!
A truly globally inspired home is what it is – genuine, interesting and conversation starting. It can never be ‘last season’ or ‘so 2013 (or insert year of your choice)’. Unless that is, you’ve suddenly decided that you like this so-called trend and therefore rush out to buy and display lots of mass produced or meaningless tat that you think makes your house look quirky and reminiscent of distant lands.
If that is you, you’re missing the point – buying a couple of buddha statues and a patterned flat-weave rug does not a cool, curated home make. Don’t worry though, we can fix that. There’s advice on how to do global interiors the right way later on in this post. Hang on in there.
Reason 2: Mass produced tat undermines the genuine pieces handcrafted by local artisans
So whenever there’s a new trend in town, everyone wants in on the action. Especially stores with a ‘stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap’ approach. So that’s when you see the high street flooded with pom pom blankets, baskets, embroidered cushions, wood carvings, ceramics, ornaments etc etc. And they’ll be lovely – just the thing for that bare corner or space on a shelf. Except these items will have been mass produced somewhere. As such, they provide no benefit whatsoever for the local artisans who make the genuine articles in the most remote parts of the world. Worst case, the people who’ve made these mass produced items have been subject to poor employment conditions and low pay too. Double blow.
Mass produced items like this go completely against my idea of global interior style. Buying such pieces won’t support local communities or keep ancient weaving or making traditions alive. And whilst they may look great in situ, they aren’t going to invoke fond holiday memories unless you enjoy reminiscing about Saturday afternoon shopping trips where you forgot where you parked the car. Hey, I’m not judging, if that’s your bag then you do you.
Global Interior Style done right
So I’ve probably moaned enough about all the things wrong with the global nomad trend. But it’s not all bad. Done the right way, there’s a chance that this could be great news for local artisans around the world after all. The concept of global style and the creation of an eclectic, personalised home is spot on. The crucial aspect of achieving it is by shopping smart with companies that embrace and empower the talented folk that make the gorgeous items they sell. That can be providing fair wages, good working conditions, and giving back to the community in various ways (investing in new schools or hospitals for example).
Where to shop
In the US, that means checking out Five | Six Textiles who work with women in Cote d’Ivoire to weave stunning yet contemporary home textiles. You’ll hear more about this new venture in a future post as I’ve been lucky enough to interview the founders! Also worth a look are The Citizenry who I’ve featured before. And take a look at the Little Market which has a fantastic array of goodies, including a great selection of homewares, that you can shop for guilt free.
For UK readers, I love India May Home, which I’ve also featured on the site before, as well as Yonder Living – more about them here. Swoon Editions remains a firm favourite due to its focus on local artisans, and I’ve recently discovered Montes and Clark who work with women in Mexico to produce beautiful homewares using traditional Otomi embroidery. More on these guys to follow soon (eek – so many new brands to introduce to you!).
In Australia, you need to look up Pampa – you’ll have seen some of their gorgeous rugs, throws and cushions here. And in New Zealand, why are you not already shopping at Bohome and Roam, or at Indie Home Collective?! They are fast becoming my go-to places when I need a little retail therapy….!
In even more exciting news, I’ve also spotted a couple of new online stores looking to open their (figurative) doors soon to offer even more opportunities to shop for beautiful things with a clear conscience. So maybe the global nomad ‘trend’ may be here to stay for a little longer…now that makes me happy!
As ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up in the comments below. And if you enjoyed reading this post, then I would be super touched if you could spread the word about the need to make more conscious choices when it comes to indulging in our homes by sharing this post via the usual social networks (buttons below).
Happy travels, and shopping