Are hairclips with odd colors and ‘bling’ ironic, as compared to politicians embracing and demonstrating world peace by holding hands?
We currently live in an uber transparent time where privacy and ostentatiousness can often feel ridiculed. Scoffed and laughed at. But these are also matters that are close to our view of what fake or real really is. In the sense of authenticity being questioned and copied to bits we need to talk about ‘kitsch’ and what the new rise of it means. It seems to me that is has came back into our lives despite how everybody got tired of it during the end of the nineties. But back then kitsch-ness peaked in its first era and was devoured and welcomed, especially by the likes of young postmodern artists such as Jeff Koons and his then contemporary artists. However now, it is the ‘finstas’, the influencers and the brands that I would like to argue are responsible for the comeback of the ‘ugly’ trend called kitsch.
It was as of November last year I stumbled upon influencers and brand’s such as GANNI, Saks Potts and Baum und Pfertgarten who are known for their distinctive quirky styles with a healthy nod to the flaky and irreverent nineties with scrunchies and tassle earrings and all other cooky accessories. Which made me realise that this style had now somewhat hit mainstream as it responded well not only via social media feeds but to the lay customer who loves commercial and mainstream culture. And this made me wonder – How did scrunchies become the it thing? Along with hairclips that are having a big boom and sold via many instagram accounts from capitals such as Copenhagen and Seoul. Perhaps this is something that could be best explained by consumer culture and its history to why we in contemporary times find ‘kitschy’ commodities and styles so appealing?
Well, in our age of simulations and simmulaccra where trends keep on coming back into our lives as copies of a copy. A philosopher could do the trick to help us along the way to understand.
: An example of simulations is found in Baudrillard’s discussion of kitsch ‘trashy objects’, ‘folksy knick-knacks’, ‘souvenirs’. These are defined by Baudrillard as pseudo-objects not to be confused with ‘real’ objects. Kitsch can also be defined as objects which, while they have a superabundance of signs, lack any real signification. The popularity of kitsch is closely tied to the development of a mass-production market and society. Rather than an aesthetics of ‘beauty and originality’, kitsch offers an aesthetics of simulation, of objects that reproduce, imitate, ape, and repeat.
But then according to this, does it mean that kitsch is just a symbol of a world in midst of a big hilarious joke? Seemingly that fashion seems to be making everything that was considered ugly, trendy. In order to fuel spending power in our neoliberalist societies to stay afloat? Or is kitsch primarily just a beautiful critique of our postmodern and hypereal and hypermodern times? With snuggling politicians getting cosy and love dubby on world stage. Who knows?
But alas, let us not care so much more but enjoy looking beautiful by feeling ‘ugly’ for fun! Before ‘traditional beauty’ comes back into style…
Text : Rosa Cruz