The Conscious Consumer: Art, Antiques and Sustainable Shopping – 2Covet

By Zara Rowe 6th November 2020

Art & Antiques in the fight against mass consumerism

This month at 2Covet, we are celebrating the ‘Anti Black Friday’ generation, a nod to the conscious consumer and a reflection on how art and antiques provide a captivating and sustainable alternative to the fast furniture stores we know so well. Harpers Bazaar say ‘more millennials than ever [are] investing in second-hand, antique furniture’, as a result of a desire for unique pieces with a low carbon footprint. If you hadn’t contemplated how the antiques industry can contribute in the fight against mass production and mass consumerism, now may be the right time to re-consider that IKEA shopping spree.

Dealer Snippet with Judy Fox Antiques – Why would you recommend investing in antiques (to a new collector)? “Antiques should be bought for the pleasure of owning and using the items in your homes. The furniture we sell from the 19th century is far superior in quality than modern day equivalents and you would pay more to have a similar piece made today. Also, if and when you decide to re-sell an antique there will always be buyers, many modern pieces end up in landfill which is terrible for many reasons.”

Pair Of Large Late 19th Century Queen Anne Style Leather Wingback Armchairs

Have you ever bought a piece of flat pack furniture? If the answer is yes, then you can certainly identify with the rush of nabbing the perfect bargain for your home. Equally, you can probably empathise as this fleeting feeling of joy progressively turns to despair during the laborious task of building said item. Over the years, this piece may serve you well before the wear and tear eventually deems it unusable and a trip to the local tip is in order. You head down to IKEA, and so the cycle starts all over again.

On the other hand, The Antiques Trade represents the epitome of Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and even before attempts to reduce its carbon footprint, the industry as a whole were pioneers in sustainability dating back hundreds of years. Don’t get me wrong, fast furniture stores serve a purpose in modern society (nobody wants an antique toilet brush). They have transformed the way we live and manufactured stylish design accessible to consumers across the world – but at what cost?

The Guardian attributes the ‘“beigeification” of interior design’ to stores like IKEA, with houses up and down the country replicating the inoffensive and practical scandi-chic they saw in the showroom. In contrast to this, the Art and Antiques Trade has worked synonymously alongside the interior design community to showcase award-winning, eclectic spaces. In Country & Town House’s ’50 Best Interior Designers of 2020’, Guy Goodfellow describes how his style ‘often [incorporates] furniture from all eras’ including ‘antique textiles’. Ensemblier London emphasises the importance of sustainability and the ruminative process of introducing art and antiques into a design: ‘My spaces are built over the long term as I consider the antiques and artworks, and I work a lot with Art Dealers. Beautiful interiors don’t happen overnight; any noteworthy interior is embellished over time.’

Alongside the personal joy that purchasing a work of art or antique can bring, the history of each piece is ever growing and the provenance is reflective of each time an antique has passed hands, been re-used or recycled. On 2Covet, antiques from as early as the 15th century are in search of a new home, which in itself is a testament to the craftsmanship, quality and care these pieces have received during their lifetime.

Dealer Advice with Judy Fox Antiques – What do you look for when shopping for antiques? “Firstly buy what is suitable for your space and something that you love. Buy the best quality and avoid items in poor condition.”

Early 20th Century French Alabaster Bust By Jean Camus

The recent Netflix documentary ‘A Life On Our Planet’ from celebrated British naturalist David Attenborough, has highlighted the stark reality of the damaging habits of the human race and how the behaviour of our species has changed the Earth over the course of his seemingly short lifetime. The rising levels of consumption from an ever growing population is one of the biggest problems environmentalists and world leaders face of our generation. David Attenborough explains: “Ever since we arrived on this planet as a species, we’ve cut them down, dug them up, burnt them and poisoned them. Today we’re doing so on a greater scale than ever.”

The permanency associated with purchasing an antique is a feeling hard to replicate in a society centred on consumerism, pushing you to buy more at every given opportunity. Black Friday is the embodiment of this, so here at 2Covet, we hope to provide a sanctuary against the chaotic behaviour associated with the ‘buy now, think later’ culture. We also encourage our Dealers and customers to build relationships through open communication, so you can make a thoughtful purchase and find out about the lifetime of your chosen piece – another stark contrast to the impersonality of adding something to your Amazon basket. Explore a collection of the incredible antiques from centuries past, available here at 2Covet.

Pair of 20th Century Inlaid Russian Display Cabinets

Victorian Carved Walnut Settee

Roll Top/Cylinder Desk By Edwards & Roberts

An Early 20th Century Glass Mirror

Robert Duckworth Greenham, The Thames at Marlow, oil on canvas

Late 19th Century Art Glass Vase by Thomas Webb, English, circa 1890

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