Your Opinion...When is Too Much Enough?

Leah at Revival Home recently did an interesting blog post about mass production. It touched a nerve in me and sparked a little debate on Facebook.

We're supposed to be going "green" right? That means recycling and other ways to save the environment.

{reproduction clock}

So my question is, why are the masses gobbling up items that are mass-produced? Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful "new" items out there that I myself purchase and covet. This society thrives off of consumerism.

But if more people consumed less, wouldn't we truly be going green?

{reproduced European globes}

{reproduction map}

{reproduction French wooden chandelier}

When I received the latest catalog from Restoration Hardware my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Big companies are knocking off every look that decorators and antique dealers have made hip and trendy. This includes Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, Z Gallerie, the list goes on. They find a look and quickly have it manufactured in China. Hmm...not liking that.

And in many cases the reproduction pieces cost significantly more than the vintage pieces. Are people really buying the knock-0ffs? Guess so.

{reproduction dress form}

{reproduction hourglasses}

So tell me, what do you think of mass consumerism?

What about the knock-offs of vintage/antiques being made in China?

Where do you think the antiques/vintage business is headed?

Are we really going green?

photo credits; 1. Tim Walker. 2-7, Restoration Hardware


lisa golightly said…
You certainly have "hit a nerve" with me on this topic ! I rarely go to the mall, so when I went to Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn for the first time in over a year, I could not believe it. It was like someone went to the Alameda, and had everything cool reproduced. Says something about the demand for the antiquated look. Nothing beats the real thing and sadly the "demand of the masses" outweighs the need for going green.
I completely agree (although I do like the fact that Restoration Hardware's new line is actually made of real wood etc. vs the laminated stuff they usually put out (which they still somehow charged incredible amounts for)... I'm always amazed that people spend that much money for new stuff that is made in China when they can buy REAL antiques for less and have more of a story and go green at the same time! Its frustrating too how flea markets and "antique" fairs are being filled more and more with reproductions from China etc. Ughh. :P
Thanks for expressing my many frustrations about this subject in your post. It hit all my frustrations of this new "green" movement, mainly the mass produced "vintage" that is way too expensive and has no life to it. I am grateful to have so many friends on this side of the fence that are willing to take the time to bring spark back to the original pieces with the hunt, the time, the energy and sweat to maintain the integrity of our own movement which will eventually outlast the box store fads! Bravo Lynn... Sandy, The Tattered House
Thea said…
Excellent points, Lynn, and yeah, that's why I'm a thrifter...buying someone elses cast-aways means it won't end up in the landfill!
Lisa & Alfie said…
Well, I am sure you can guess how I feel on the subject.
It is sort of like the consumers have become green wannabe's, opting for the mass produced faux vintage look. The illusion instead of the real deal, which usually is a REAL deal compared to the prices offered by these companies. I just have to wonder if people still don't realize what great original design is offered out there in our vintage and antique shops and our local antique faires. We need to get the word out again.
Lisa (& Alfie, who feels exactly like his mom on the subject)
I always prefer an authentic vintage/antique piece over a repro and honestly a reproduction piece usually looks okay from afar, but up close it is always obvious that it is not well-made and the materials are cheaper. I think reproductions are often times perfect for those who are just too impatient to wait to find the real thing...another problem we all struggle with-immediate gratification!
Our society is also a very disponsible society. Think of all of the items we use on a daily basis that get thrown in the trash? Unfortunately, companies now mass produce things in a lower quality and these items have a shorter life-expectancy- laptops, cell phones, printers- to name a few!

My Grama's Soul said…
Good point you have made today.....I personally recycle everything.....and I mean everything....even my husbands shocking protests of WHAT IN THE ##### are you doing?????

I have moved and recycled pieces of furniture in four different moves now....and am still in love with the things I am using in my right the first time and it is timeless.

Really liked this post. It made me think! I don't like fake antiques, I would most lightly not buy any myself. The whole point of having antiques is that it's something unique and soulfull (and beautiful:) The use and throw-away mentality is a thing I really hate. I work in a store that sells decoration items, and very often someone buys things on sale, and tells me they're going to throw away the old they have... Everytime I want to scream at them; You mean deliver it to a thrift store?... Regards Grete
All of y life I have made it a policy to buy American or Canadian made products only whenever possible, period.
Other countries do not always have the same laws and guidelines that we do and that is what leads to lead poisoning from paint on children's toys or melamine in our pet food. etc.
It's a matter of pride and integrity and keeping the food on my neighbor's table.
Tina xo
Dumbwit Tellher said…
There are two veins to this topic. Mass production while often feeds the need for those that desire a stylish look but have a meager budget, it also feeds the bottom line of those companies such as Restoration Hardware, & Pottery Barn. Those companies employee people and therefor it's a cycle that makes the economy healthy. Mass produced in China is good for China. Another reason why their country will in the not too far future become the 'super-power' that the U.S. once was. I wish we could turn back the clock to the days when we were not such a disposable society & the U.S. supported true craftsmen.

Very thought provoking question for us all.

Cheers ~ Deborah
FrenchBlue said…
I say...when it gets too much it's OVER! It's time to move on to a new fresh look. By the time it hits the stores, you are better than that. Remember we always and always say and stay Classic. Also vintage cannot compete with the pillow prices. The vintage original pillow that Restoration Hardware bought from Gardenology and knocked off was $395. RH pillow is $39. How can one keep up with that? I bought the RH for $39. However it is 3-4 weeks out to hold in your hand. It's all crazy and nutz!!!
GrAte Post!!!
Midlife Mom said…
Vintage items are so much more special as they have a history, they have had a life before you ever lay your eyes/hands on them.

To compare that to something mass produced -- mass production takes away the specialness of anything. Knowing you have something that there are a limited number of makes it unique.

I hope things shift and we start to reuse, re-purpose things more!
Thanks for all of your great comments. It's really a subject close to my heart and I love hearing different perspectives on the topic. I think we all agree that nothing is quite the same as vintage and recycling is so important.

As Lisa W. (Pickled Hutch) says, "hopefully people will realize what great original design is offered out there in our vintage and antique shops and our local antique faires." I would sure hate to see our world deteriorate due to mass production.

Thanks again for the GREAT comments! Let's just keep doing what we're doing!
Mélanie A. said…
I love your post. I think it means antiques are trendy but the problem is that when you copy antiques , the prices of real antiques go down because it is no more an original and rare piece...
I guess we are not going green at all
Susan said…
The proliferation of fake antiques and architectural artifacts has irked me for years. I know people who prefer the new, they don't like the funky drawer insides of antiques, etc.

I bought my first flea market chandelier and Blue Willow platter at age 18, and my college dorm roommate pointed out that I did not have a house. I said "But I will someday" and that was the start of collecting the real thing.

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