Knowing the work they do at Procured Design is primarily focused on appreciating contemporary design, which often times expands across cultures and borders, we thought it would be interesting to hear their thoughts on The Current State of Americana.
Jake Eshelman is the founder of Procured Design and had this to share:
Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, there is a certain undeniable allure behind Americana. But it’s not just about flags and eagles. There is a rich mythology concerning what it means to be American. It connotes a savoir-faire mentality and an unapologetic individuality – both of which continue to drive the top creatives here in the states.
In the last several months, it’s become very obvious that Americana is the new ‘in’ idea. Stars and stripes adorn virtually anything you can imagine, from couture clothing to phone cases.
Yet despite the patriotic fervor of USA-loving consumers, this recent excitement sends a very mixed message. In the wake of the 4th, I started taking a closer look at products that used patriotic motifs (i.e. red, white, & blue). I was interested – but not at all surprised – to discover that only a small fraction of those goods were made here in the states.
Personally, I’m a proponent of importing, because with it comes a latent exposure to different cultures and their traditions. This of course depends on the item, but it’s naive to think that we are the best in all realms of industry. That said, when it comes to actively taking pride in a shared American heritage, isn’t that something special we should share amongst our fellow citizens, laborers, entrepreneurs, etc? In other words, what does it mean to buy an American flag that was made in China? Of course these are questions with no real answers, but I’ll posit that they at least elicit a reaction.
The dilemma surrounding Americana is that it inherently pits pride against cash flow. It’s not to say that the two are mutually exclusive, but the current trends favor the latter in overstepping our local producers in lieu of imported alternatives. By doing so, to what extent are we actually appreciating American heritage?
ABOUT PROCURED DESIGN
Procured Design is a daily online publication devoted to investigating, appreciating, and promoting contemporary craft and creativity. Founded in 2012 by Houston-based writer Jake Eshelman, the website is informed by his background in paper/printmaking, music, carpentry, leatherwork, and photography. This shared interest in the creative process ensures that each feature is not only carefully curated, but is also presented with insightful commentary.