‘All that glitters’ … design trends, latest fashion and our self-worth

‘All that glitters’ … design trends, latest fashion and our self-worth

We are bombarded every day by the latest, greatest, coolest, sleekest designs, and as an interior designer with 20 years in the business, you have me at ‘functional and stylish’.

Stuff is always catching my eye ... but stuff catches most peoples’ eyes. So is there more to the motivating factor, the drive to acquire the latest fashion or follow the hottest design trends than we care to consider?

Whether is it the beautiful design of the latest Peugeot with the bubble glass roof and twin exhaust, Sass & Bide clothes on the catwalk appearing in a store near you, or the latest designer homewares, there is always something new. There is no doubt we are a consumerist culture – our impulse generally does not stop at browsing – and the business world literally banks on this universal desire as confirmed in an article by A.T. Kearney ­– Global Retail Expansion: An Unstoppable Force ... ‘global wealth and spending have soared since 1990 and will continue to do so. Adjusting for inflation in both unit cost of goods and currency, growth in real spending will increase by $12 trillion in the next 10 years.’[1]

Many of us fill our lives with ‘stuff‘ and drive ourselves to achieve our goals, obtain the ‘objects of desire’, to follow the latest trends at any cost, to achieve the next thing on our list.

Whether it is a trip OS, a new car or a kitchen refurbishment, maybe it’s simply a new PlayStation and bigger HD 3D TV or a new mattress with the latest pocket spring technology with a gel based topper in soft, medium or firm . . . oh yes, that exists. Or maybe it’s jewellery, designer shoes or juicer (that added drive to be fit and healthy, but to quickly get over when the cleaning factor is realised)... whatever your thing, most of us have jumped on the mass consumerism bandwagon as we tend to strive towards and focus on the ‘next thing’, regardless of the expense to ourselves.

For many it is not just the economic stress that this can cause, or the physical stress on the body from working longer hours to pay off accumulated debt, it is the mental stress, the energy behind the ‘motivating factor,’ creating a momentum or ‘drive’ that needs to be brought into question.

At a foundational level, is it possible that our consumerist culture is driven by our lack of a true sense of our own self-worth?

Is it possible that we are actually caught in this consumer culture or cycle of having the latest and the greatest, the newest and the fastest, the hottest and the sexiest and it’s not actually what we truly want – or who we truly are?

Many of us are only momentarily satisfied when we get the object of our desire and inevitably move onto the next thing. So what is that about – what are we truly seeking, and again, is there some correlation to our self-worth?

There may be a few issues at play that keep us on the consumer merry-go-round. And this is by no means about not having beautiful, functional, hot items on our list, it is simply about assessing the physical and energetic cost to us and our bodies first, bringing some understanding with how we feel about ourselves, with what is actually going on.

Such as . . .

  • Is there a deep need or drive to purchase the latest and the greatest and an unhealthy focus – a possible anxiousness – until this transaction occurs?

  • Is the satisfaction only momentary, and then are you onto the next thing?

  • Does the joy wear off, so to speak?

If you have answered 'yes' to any of the above, you may be artificially filling yourself, your world, with stylish distractions, in the attempt to override deeper feelings of worthlessness, layers of hurt, that we become very good at concealing as we try to create a world around us that we think satisfies our needs.

Don’t get me wrong, shopping can be a lot of fun and is part of our unique self expression, but many of us, both male and female, can get ‘taken in’ by new style trends to attempt to satisfy something deeper, and thus go beyond what we’d normally consider in ‘our right mind’ . . . leaving us to deal with the consequences long after the rush has worn off.

So what is this mass consumerism all about?

You may not generally equate the desire for love as the default desire for possessions, or accumulation of things, but what if the motivating factor was driven by an emptiness inside that we try to avoid feeling at all costs (pun intended)?

What are we really missing?

Most of us don’t dare stop and consider what we may really be craving at a deeper level. Is it really the latest iPhone, designer jeans, packet of Tim Tams or, underneath that, may it simply be love, intimacy and true connection within ourselves, and with others?

  • Is it possible that in the absence of these we convince ourselves that what we crave can simply be purchased, acquired, or accumulated by other means?

  • Is it all about avoiding what we are truly feeling whilst focussing on a quick fix or formulated solution? But all the while somewhere deep inside there is a vague knowing that the fix does not last and the drive will return, again and again.

So it’s possible that when the ‘newness’ of the object wears off we are left where we started, wanting more. But at this moment, do we stop to really feel what is going on or do we push through, work harder so we can buy and plan more things?

Is it possible that we do not want to stop and feel the lack of true love in our lives, our relationships, our job, so we create an intentional external focus away from feeling these things so as not to clock what is actually going on? Is this same basis the reason why we are over-eating, pushing our bodies too hard at the gym, in the garden, smoking, drinking...? The external focus, the distraction of what’s next, subjugates our innate knowing of what we truly crave. Ourselves.

So where to from here? It can actually be very simple . . .

The next time you feel driven to purchase something stop first and ask yourself:

  • What is behind the drive or need for this – am I responding to something that feels true?

  • Do I really need this?

  • How am I actually feeling in this moment? Am I possibly not feeling that great and believe that this purchase will change all that?

  • Contemplate – has this ideology worked before? How long did it actually last?

  • Will I use the purchase to make myself feel better, to impress others, or as a smokescreen so other people will focus on that rather than me?

  • Am I holding onto some belief that the object or trip etc. will bring me happiness, provide a quick fix, rather than taking responsibility and paying attention to my inner-knowing that there is something I need to address, resolve or complete in my life?

Placing the value back on ourselves and our inner feelings, rather than all that glitters in the world, may take time as we develop a level of awareness and honesty, that although may not magically appear overnight, is absolutely possible and has far-reaching effects within all aspects of our day-to-day life as we start to truly value ourselves above any purchase we may make.

Developing true self-worth is a long-term investment that builds a solid foundation within, allowing you to ‘be you’ in the world, rather than having the world dictate its momentum to you.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes things still glitter, and the motivating factor or drive still comes knocking on my door at times. But by developing an inner-connection first, the drive to acquire the latest fashion or trending styles at the expense of our bodies, of ourselves, will eventually be exposed for what it is, and what is truly needed, what will be truly enjoyed, will be known and deeply appreciated.


  • [1]

    https://www.atkearney.com/documents/10192/5972342/Global+Retail+Expansion-An+Unstoppable+Force+-+2015+GRDI.pdf/22c67371-43ec-4c27-b130-5c7c63c296fc

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LifestyleSelf-worthFashionHealthy livingMoney

  • By Melinda Rowe, Interior Designer BA (Hons) MDIA; Holistic Counsellor; Esoteric Practitioner EPA Accredited

    Melinda is a lover of Truth, People and Connection. The Ageless Wisdom is a constant source of inspiration, along with an excellent lamb roast, and the random exquisite moments in life that remind us we are so much more.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd