Words: Leanne Cloudsdale
Times are tough these days for the design purist. There was a point when donning a French workers jacket signaled that summer was spent holidaying in the Dordogne, rifling through flea markets – but now Albam stock them as a seasonless carry over, it’s somehow lacking on points for rarity. The purists shun popular appeal, preying on small businesses and niche products, preferring to wow guests at dinner parties with tales of partridge shooting and power camping. For mentalists like these, pleasure is mainly derived from the pain of procurement. Enamel pans look the part in their rustic Clerkenwell kitchens, and who cares if the ratatouille sticks to the bottom? Because what matters most is where it came from “we found this great little thrift store in Montreal”. Denim is the cornerstone, the very lifeblood of any relationship or friendship circle. To be seen sporting anything less than selvedge is guaranteed cultural suicide, and if you think for a second those Levis you got from Cinch are okay, you may as well pack up and move to Australia.
The design masochists insist on historical referencing, and so like Nick Kamen before them, only crisp white boxer shorts will suffice. Things have progressed since mail order Sunspel, did you know they now have their very own Shoreditch shop with Feist on shuffle? Carefully selected shop staff (big nosed quirky girl with angelic complexion wearing an Aran jumper and contrived scruffy side ponytail) really set those austere pulses racing and send the annual turnover figures soaring off the recycled graph paper.
The purist of today feels levels of anxiety unknown to the average UK resident. Especially since the tills of Labour & Wait are creaking with overuse and the waiting lists for bog brushes and overpriced pencil crayons surge to new levels. Even Leila’s Café on Calvert Avenue has expanded (AKA vulgar). Gone are the days when you’d happily queue in the rain for three hours to sit on a school chair and chow down on a slice of toasted sourdough for £7.50. Who cares if they never had central heating? Where else could you go to earwig conversations on how to source vintage fishing tackle bags “great for my MacBook”. To conclude then, theirs is not so much a fashion direction, it’s more a frugal style disease. We can only hazard a guess at the cause of the infection: bullying at school? Passive aggressive fathers? One testicle bigger than the other? We have to leave the diagnosis to the experts, for one thing is certain: maintaining authenticity is exhausting and at the end of a hard days freelancing, it’s time to kick back and relax with a fresh mint tea and a copy of Monocle.
Seasonal ref: Don’t be daft the D.P isn’t anything as vulgar as “trendy.” They’d sooner swap their Gails Quinoa Sourdough bread for sliced white Warburtorns…
Must Have: It’s all about the face furniture. Design purists have been known to inflict all manner of injuries on their own eyes in the vein hope of being told they need specs. A D.P with only two eyes is like a Sunday paper with no supplement. Extra points if they actually looks like furniture too – walnut paneling, black laquer, stainless steel. Japanese import, reconditioned 1950s originals, mock Bauhaus replica… Anything that looks uncomfortable and sticks out like a sore thumb.