Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
Let the sea roar and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy…
Psalm 98:4, 7-8
I’ve been thinking about this lately. The stores in this area, and in all the posh/swanky areas of London I’ve seen, seem to be moving towards a sort of zen-like state of emptiness. Some only have one rack of clothes hanging in the middle of the store, surrounded by white walls and highly-polished wooden floors. The uniformed guard standing at the door probably has more clothes on than the whole store displays. Rich women go in, wearing their designer tatters, and finger the tiny clothes, dreaming of fitting into size zeros. The shops seem to proclaim: We are so fancy, so elite, that we can afford this whole vast expensive place to display six items of clothing. Only the richest people enter those shops with their proud, expensive aura of emptiness; they seem to gain status simply by being seen in a zen-shop. Soon the stores will be completely empty, with just a clerk at one end and a guard at the other. Rich people will walk through the doors and gain status thereby, then whip out their credit cards and purchase something intangible and fabulously, extravagantly expensive at the counter. I should tap into this by designing the most austere, gorgeously productless store and jump-start this upcoming trend now!
Then again, perhaps that emptiness coincides with the emptiness of the shoppers’ stomachs. The mannequins in this sports store simply reinforce the idea that empty is better: empty store to achieve eliteness, empty stomach to achieve beauty. Those very productless stores that gleam with polish and chrome subconsciously tell their shoppers that to be worthy of the honor of obtaining status in that store, you must work towards the mannequin-like appearance. Of course, if that means losing your head as these have, perhaps some shoppers might think twice…