Today’s fashion is tomorrow’s junk.

The cover photograph is of Paul Bonomini’s design for the RSA’s Weeeman Project. The robotic figure is made of scrap electrical and electronic equipment that weighs 3.3 tonnes, the average amount that each person in the UK throws away during his or her lifetime.


Tim Cooper, 2010

The throwaway society. How quaint that term seems now! I am old enough to remember the shock that attended its arrival as a description of modernity. The wastefulness it implied. The damage it evoked. The erosion it predicted, not just in terms of product durability but in terms of social durability, in the durability of society itself. And yet today the concept is so deeply entrenched in our cultural self-image as to be almost redundant. Very soon, I imagine, there will no longer be a generation that remembers what it was like to live in a society other than this. Was there really ever a time of make do and mend, of repair and reparability, of continuity and durability? Or was it just a dream? A figment of history books and senile imaginations? Our children have already inherited a very different view of the world. In which it is taken for granted that things don’t last. That relentless novelty is the order of the day. And for a few years they may even be able to sustain the belief that things don’t need to last. That today’s fashion is tomorrow’s junk. Today’s functionality is tomorrow’s dysfunctionality. Today’s beauty is tomorrow’s tawdry reject.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s