Kinfolk still offers a one-size-fits-all-who-seek-it lifestyle solution with little tolerance for mess. The increasingly rarified image of luxurious simplicity that it projects is far from possible, desirable, or even recognizable for everyone.
-- Kyle Chayka, "The Last Lifestyle Magazine"
It’s hard to identify with something so empty at its core.
-- Also Kyle Chayka, "Welcome to Airspace"
I like the IKEA aesthetic. I like Scandinavian furniture, with simple shapes and bare wood or bamboo. Over a few days of clothing and furniture shopping with my partner alias-pseudonym and my brother thatnerdlord, I've been trying to cross them with a Mori Girl's layered dresses, earth tones, and prolific reading, plus several-years-out-of-date Apple devices that I hope will continue to age gracefully.
But for me, the goal of this sort of konmari minimalism is not an aesthetic performance. It's not to hide my vulnerabilities, the way Kinfolk magazine people never feel wild enthusiasm, passion, or joy. It's more of a sensory issues thing; I feel everything so intensely that something innocuous can distract me. I don't want a vast empty room with impersonal artwork, I want a small cozy underground space, with escape routes and a collection of things that I know will delight me.
I want to live in a fox's den, not a white people coffee shop.
And if that means making use of some of the same design inspirations that they do, it's not because I want to impress those white people. It's because I get so excited about things so easily, and I want to have room in my life for whatever my latest passion is. Even when that means consciously making that room, by giving away or recycling things that have served their purpose. And by choosing the most simple and unobtrusive way to solve any problem I have.
I'm mixing my critique of white people style with my recent reading of the life-changing manga of tidying up, here. I just ... am trying to examine my own motivations and feels in a stream of consciousness ramble, I guess. And acknowledge how privileged I am to be able to make these choices like this, instead of just having to make do.
The way I have most of my life.
I don't want to erase anyone else's style, either. I'm really concerned about the kind of gentrification that's being promoted, whether wilfully or inadvertently, by these apps / social structures that rich white people use. That's another reason I value simplicity in my own life: Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to understand other people and cultures, and I want to be able to make that effort whenever it's needed. I want to have the time, the space, and the energy for it.
And if I can, I want to help make these disparate cultures legible to each other. So that they can appreciate each other, instead of the dominant one trying to erase and consume all the others.
And replace them with their own Kinfolk.
Simplicity, for me, is less of a goal to aspire to, and more like the Tao Te Ching's uncarved block. It's the most useful thing in the world, because you can make anything out of it. And like the air in a tire, or the space in between the spokes of a wooden wheel, sometimes you need it in order to function.