Consumerism vs Materialism & Why We're Making Walking Trousers

I recently read an article by Richard Denniss, author of the book ‘Curing Affluenza’, about the important distinction between consumerism and materialism, two ‘isms’ are often conflated but are in fact polar opposites. The article sums up entirely the reason we are taking so much care in designing the Bleak House walking trousers. Simply put, we want you to own them, love them and wear them for many, many years. 

Consumerism is simply our love of buying things. The thrill of the new, the unbridled joy of sashaying down the street swinging a bagful of promise. We are all aware of how quickly this thrill subsides, how often our purchases lose their allure once the veneer of newness has been stripped away. The disappointment we experience with buyer's remorse can expose the void in our happiness we had so desperately hoped our new things would fill. In addition to the effect on our levels of fulfilment, consumerism is catastrophic for our pockets and is destroying our planet.

When we purchase well, consumerism fades away to be replaced by materialism, the love of owning things. We all know that possessions can never take the place of a purposeful life filled with people we care about, but loving and cherishing our possessions and taking joy in using something that is beautifully made, carefully chosen and fit for purpose is an enriching, exciting and rewarding experience. As Denniss says in the article, if you really love your car the thought of having to replace it with a new one is abhorrent. This is how I felt about my Maharishi trousers.

Around the time of the Millenium I bought a pair of Maharishis, mainly because Jennifer Aniston had them too. I wore those trousers a lot, an awful lot, and they turned out to be a brilliant buy. When I eventually retired them from my daily wardrobe around 2005 they became my walking trousers. 

I loved those trousers so much that every time I planned a big walk my excitement would be enhanced by knowing I’d get to wear my Maharishis again. They were perfectly suited for walking and I really loved wearing something that didn’t make me look like I had my ‘walking clothes’ on.

Eventually, in 2010, I retired my Maharishis for good. Despite still being perfectly serviceable, if somewhat frayed around the edges, I had outgrown them. Into the clothing bank they went to be passed on to someone or something new. 

My love for my Maharishis is why I decided we'd try to make a pair of walking trousers. Our aim is to make a pair of trousers that not only are stylish, comfortable and fit for purpose, but that will transcend consumerism and bring you real joy every time you wear them.

If you like this, you might like Lunch & a Walk at Daylesford

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The Bleak House guide to Columbia Road flower market

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