Lots of bewildered staring into the middle distance over the tops of coffee cups this year. We seemingly decided we’re not European after all, there’s a Donald in the White House, Leicester City won the League. What next?
If the bookshops and Sunday magazines are anything to go by we’re all going to be hiding in reassuring reindeer fur yurts this Christmas fuelled by warm mulled wine and cinnamon buns while reading calming poetry by the light of a thousand hygge candles.
Though perhaps the hygge Scandis are a bit Johnny come lately?
For some time we’ve been seeing a few rising brands in the world of restaurants ready to look after those of us in need of a little reassurance in a mad world. They’re the ones that we could call a bit low brand. Not for them venues, menus and experiences that are identical down to the last detail from Loughborough to Croeso.
It’s places like Loungers and Bill’s where the chairs are mismatched, the tables might have come out of your aunt’s kitchen and the décor is mercifully free of any corporate broadcasting. They’re places to take refuge in, for a momentary escape from all the ‘isations: standardisation, digitisation and the general dehumanisation of globalisation.
Maybe the age of super branding is showing a few cracks as many turn their backs on well-ordered capitalism? No one quite knows what the answer is but saying no to the status quo is enough for now. And for some there’s the added thrill of hitting the ‘what if’ button, as in ‘what happens if I do vote for Trump? Can’t be worse than now, right?’
In this rebellious climate perfectly manicured ‘high brands’ risk standing out as symbols of the status quo, whereas Loungers’ mismatched chairs and odd teapots don’t seem to be tainted by advanced capitalism’s brand wizards.
Hail the low brand!