Rolling out of your Casper mattress that’s dressed in sheets from Brooklinen to brush your teeth with a Quip toothbrush and popping your vitamins from Care/of before sleeping on your Allbirds to hustle to the subway. Every millennial’s dream right? Or at least an acerbic baby boomer’s dystopic nightmare of what we all do every morning.
In an article for Vox’s The Goods, a 26-year old Brooklynite (it just had to be Brooklyn, right?) tries the “best of” the direct-to-consumer companies — those startups with ads plastered all over public transit and our Instagram feeds, that all happen to look the same, what with the sans serif fonts, succulents, and general minimalism.
In so many ways, this is the future we consumers were promised: a few clicks and a couple days later, the last shoes/sheets/vitamins/suitcase you’ll ever need arrive on your doorstep. But, it feels like something is missing. It’s an emptiness perfectly encapsulated by those minimal advertisements all these companies use. Sure, you feel good you’ve done research and own “the best” something or other, but it’s not yours, it’s the internet’s. And just to prove it, Instagram might still show you an Allbirds ad or two, even after you’ve bought a pair of the nondescript wool runners.
The writer, 26-year-old Brooklynite she is, comes to a slightly different conclusion. She oscillates somewhere between longing to keep the products she’s tested and claiming that she’ll never have the “privilege” to own such items, seeming to insinuate that if she doesn’t want this life, there must be something wrong with it. All the while, she manages to take a few jabs at a couple and its unsuspecting baby, Zephyr (granted, naming your baby Zephyr is pretty much a different version of schlepping around a New Yorker tote). “Enough of the clean lines and millennial pink, it’s off to my shitty Mexican restaurant a borough away (…in Manhattan)!”
To be sure, I too think there is something wrong with the myth these direct-to-consumer companies are perpetuating, but it’s something more subtle and insidious than longing for a life filled with two thousand dollar couches, a husband with manicured beards and a son with a nautical name.
The millennial think piece lamenting the state of online consumerism has become as much a trope as the direct-to-consumer startups themselves now, and these pieces say as much about the state of consumerism as the presumed success of these companies do. We’ll continue to buy stuff from them, and the emptiness their products make us feel will only cause us to buy more. Which is probably how they want it all along.
What does this all have to do with watches? Well nothing really except that some of these direct-to-consumer brands happen to sell shitty watches, which I have some opinions on as well.
For the full article, head to Vox.