So, last weekend I went to a restaurant in my neighborhood for breakfast (I live in an area called Century City. It’s actually between Century city and Rancho Park – sort of Century City-adjacent. Ha ha). The restaurant was called Food.
Okay – so I am a little weird when it comes to commerce and society. I notice unique things about how businesses choose to promote themselves. I study the sides of 18 wheelers on the highway. I notice the color schemes they choose for the bed of their trucks, and the slogans they choose to use. Some would say it’s because of what I do for a living – marketing and publicizing everyone and everything – but I wonder about these things often. So, I also notice the trends – for something even as basic as the names of businesses.
For instance, have you noticed for the past eight or ten years now, that the very trendy thing to do when naming a restaurant was to choose one word that described it – preferably something clever? So, FOOD says it all doesn’t it? Although, one could argue it’s just not that clever.
Not too far from where I live, there’s a breakfast place called Toast, a fantastic steak house called Cut, and another called STK. Even the Japanese have joined the ranks of trendy restaurateurs. There’s Koi, Nobu, Matsuhisa, Katana, etc. There is Fig, Taste, Seed, Casa – oh the list goes on, and these are just the places I can rattle off which exist on the west side of Los Angeles. I’m sure there are thousands.
I think I have a pretty good track record of noticing or at least predicting that moment just before a trend reaches over-saturation. Ask any of my sisters who use to ask me to help them change their decor at home or come up with some new style or whatever. Maybe they were just being nice, but I tend to think it was because in my younger days I always tried to stay ahead of the curve. At my wedding, so many people thought it was absurd that I chose teal poofy bottom strapless dresses. They’d never seen them before. Well, they saw plenty after my wedding, but I was first. HA! I don’t mean to sound egoccentric or anything. I’m just giving you some background here. It didn’t do so much for the longevity of my marriage, but my girls LOOKED MAHVELOUS!! Ha! But I digress — again.
So, with all this in mind, FWC and I were talking about this very subject – restaurants and their short names. I was stating how you can tell when something is well PAST over-saturation when EVERYONE and their MOTHER has jumped on the band wagon. Here’s a news flash: The one-word trendy restaurant name, my friends, hit over-saturation long ago. If you are looking to name your cute little corner of paradise, serving up only the yummiest of baked goods, something like “Dough” – don’t do it, unless it has real meaning — like you plan to charge an arm and a leg for every item as well, and eating there will cost your patrons tons of DOUGH. I’m telling you that trend is OVER.
As we mused about this very thing, FWC came up with the brilliant and humorous next trend: exceptionally looooonnnng names for restaurants.
He said, “Yeah! The next hot spot will be ‘Our Place is the Best Restaurant Ever [pause], Because [pause] We Serve The Best Food. [pause] So You Should Only Eat Here. [pause] Okay? Okay!'”.
We cracked ourselves up on that one. But then we decided, people are now trained to the one-word names, and would shorten it to “Okay,” which would be the end of that restaurant.
They’d say, “Want to go eat at that new place, Okay?” and their friends would say, “Okay! What’s it called?” They’d answer, “Okay!” Which would elicit the response, “Cool. But. What is the restaurant called?”
You get my drift.
But I’d venture to say the trend for longer, more complex restaurant names is definitely on the near horizon, if not already in existence. And I say, GOOD RIDDANCE to the one-word anomaly! Enough of this simplified life, already. We get it.
The same over-saturation point has happened for those long sleeved shirts that have that sort of tattoo look to them. You know the ones I’m talking about. They sport either an intricate tattoo design, fine art, or are “Indian chakra” inspired (just to name a few styles). They’ve got everything from Celtic crosses to beautiful women with a third eye staring out at you. I absolutely love them, and will continue to wear them, because – hey – I like them, and I don’t care if they’re hot and trendy or not.
I’m not sure where these shirts got their origin, but I remember first buying them up at Nordstrom back in 1999 or 2000. I remember the feeling of hitting “pay dirt,” fashionably speaking. I knew I’d be one of the first to sport them, and it was such a thrill. HA! As a matter of fact, I still have one of those first shirts – a short-sleeved rendition.
Now you can’t go to ANY store without seeing those very shirts, a knock-off , or some interpretation of sorts on the racks. Even Target and Walmart have gotten into the game. It’s enough to make Ed Hardy start drawing pencil sketched stick figures (heyyyyyy – that’s not a bad idea)!
But you see? That’s what we need! I know society and trends go in cycles on their own. People do eventually get sick of seeing the same thing over and over. Then somehow, even though all we like sheep, who’ve gone astray, suddenly take our rose colored glasses off to take a look around, lay our eyes on all those other sheep in tattooed clothing, and wonder ‘where is the individuality? why do we all look the same?”, we are still individualists at heart. So we venture out to find that NEW Ed Hardy type-person, who is a renegade, and goes out on a limb to create some other COOL shirt. Like maybe plain, solid white tees. And the cycle starts all over again.
Remember when Michael Jackson donned the one-gloved hand, and suddenly every guy out there (if he had the guts to do it) was wearing one glove, a black leather jacket with an up-turned collar, and patchwork jeans? Some paradigm shift in the universe had to take place to make that one go away, but it did happen. One day, all those MJ look-a-likes got wise to the scene, and sought out the next new thing. Thank GOD it wasn’t SPEEDOS!
Okay – so what is the point of all this nonsense anyway, you may ask? Why, to fill your brain with useless information of course! Besides, how in the world could I sleep at night if I thought my readers were not aware of when a trend was about to hit over-saturation? Oh my GOD, help! We can’t have THAT.
But the truth is, I think we should all wear exaclty what we want, never caring whether too many other people are wearing the same thing. We should name our restaurants or businesses whatever the hell we want, and be GLAD we have the freedom to do so. Listen – I do love those trendy shirts, and you will see me wearing them – because they just seem so, well, ME. If you want to be a true fashionista and only wear what is hot and trendy, then do it! If you want to wear cut-off jean shorts and a ratty tee shirt with paint splattered on it, I’d applaud you. But this whole thing was a simple exercise in the contemplation of trends and how they reach over-saturation, un-kay? So, don’t get all up in my grill if you see me wearing something passe and making an over-saturated fashion statement! I know some of you. You’ll do it.
Now, go out there and have a fabulously trendy, or an incredibly mundane fashion weekend you beautiful men and women!
Love you people! Mmmmmmphhhuuuhhhhh!
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