Thursday, January 26, 2023


Before we get started, a "playful" definition of kitsch, per the Urban Dictionary -

As an art movement, lifestyle, or literature and film genre, kitsch is pleasingly distasteful. It's melodramatic, overdone, gaudy and tacky or sentimental and folksy. It's so bad that it's cool. Your cat might attack it, but it's hot. 
And, no, Martha Stewart and Jerry Springer are NOT bad enough to be kitsch. At all. Paris and Nicole though...
You're looking rather kitschy today, your grandma's neckace is hot. 
I saw an awesome Andy Warhol knockoff at the galley yesterday, it was so kitsch. I couldn't get it though, I didn't have the cash. *sounds dissappointed*

by Avant-Garde Hero August 15, 2004

Courtesy of Wikipedia

It goes without saying (or at least it should) that art, design, and other creative endeavors are subjective. One person's trash is another's treasure, or so it's been said. My very first serious watch was a yellow dialed Omega Speedmaster chronograph - the Schumacher Racing edition (which also came in a red version). Needless to say, it was a bold choice back in 1997. But I loved that watch. I bought it at a jeweler in Turku, Finland with the extra money I got from tutoring the children of a Saudi family who were studying at St. Andrews that summer. A lot of people thought it was a bit much, but I didn't care.

Courtesy of the Velveteria collection in Black Velvet Masterpieces

Over the years there have been several instances where the envelope has been pushed in terms of design, color palette, and co-brand partners. And in many ways this is a positive thing as it ensures that many different voices can and will be heard.

But when creative roars past kitsch and takes the express lane to, well, slightly tacky? Invariably, the protagonists will crow about how they are "challenging the status quo!" While that's as maybe, I am reminded of a quote from the past that seems universally applicable, but particularly so in this instance -

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should". 

Ultimately it is for the final customer to determine whether or not they want to paddle out and ride a new wave. The hope is, as ever, that the item will sell. But to simply slap on emoticons to pre-existing designs is not really what I (personally) would consider ground breaking or inclusive or disruptive. 

It's a gag. 

Don't get me wrong, gags can be fun. And let's hope for the sake of every gag loving watch project out there that the customers respond - and hopefully do so in a positive manner. Because if they don't, those once whimsical endeavors tend to linger around and start to smell like a houseguest after three days...

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