Cleanism: The New Minimalism

Jackie JS Lee(above) SS14 Collection, Jackie JS Lee Words by Elizabeth Pollard

I first heard the term ‘Cleanism’ in reference to Jackie JS Lee’s SS14 collection, although the trend and the term has been thrown around a lot longer than that. In art, interior, graphic design and fashion, a trend for a more practical, more essential and a more beautiful version of minimalism has been developing into brands like Jackie Lee, Atea Oceanie, 1205, Jil Sander Navy and even Whistles. Cleanism is about a ‘classic’ approach to design – often minimal in colour and shape but refined as opposed to confined.

In graphic design, it is not about stripping back for the sake of a ‘slick’ aesthetic, it’s about finding utility and function in all attributes of design whilst still maintaining a ‘clean’ look and feel.

Our Scandinavian friends are of course the leaders in this design movement, with Danish furniture selling for more than a few months rent and high street brands like Cos and &Other Stories storming the high street; making this practical, polished style accessible to everyone.

I believe, the desire for a investment in design, whether in architecture or fashion, was born out of the global economic crash and a growing consciousness of the effect we’re having on our environment. The ‘fast-fashion’ of the late nineties and early noughties was quickly turned on it’s head with a repulsion for disposable furniture, clothes, shoes, even branding! This trend is about far more than trousers vs skirts; it’s about making utility and consciousness desirable and most importantly it looks ahead to how we are changing our consumer habits.

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