Designer Paula Scher on Trends

A few years ago, I was convinced that trends didn’t affect me.

Until I wanted the ugly rug. And ended up buying it. And living with it in my home.

Never Say Never

There comes a point in our lives when we are faced with the undeniable truth of ‘never say never’.
That saying that eludes us in our twenties, when we are explicitly exclusive about pretty much everything, in our thirties finally becomes clear. We don’t get to say never and stick to it.

In fact, now I believe that saying never inevitably jinxes me, and soon I find myself doing that exact thing I said I would never do.

Or eat.

Or drink.

Or read.

Some of my greatest discoveries in life came when I said I would never. Like reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I would never, I said, because everyone else was reading it. But I have, and it was life-changing. Six years later and I am the most organized person I know.

I also said (repeatedly) that I would never go hiking or nature walking because I couldn’t imagine anything more boring. (the extent of my walking used to be city center strolls) Now I hike for pleasure whenever I have a chance.

You are Going to Be Doing It in Five Years

Recently I found and wrote down this quote by designer Paula Scher:

“If you look through design history and you see something that looks really radical, that’s what you’re going to be doing now. If you think that’s nice, that’s what you’ve already been doing. If you think it’s tired, that’s what you were doing five years ago. But if you think it’s ugly, that’s what you’re going to be doing in five years.”

The quote resonated with me.

It reminded me of my ugly turned pretty rug.

Namely, 10 years ago, I got my first iPhone, and I stumbled across an app (this was when there weren’t so many apps around) called Houzz.
I spent hours looking at pretty pictures of beautifully designed interiors while getting my (then newborn firstborn) to fall asleep.

And that is where I first saw this rug. I distinctly remember thinking how ugly it was. I remember saying to myself, “who would ever buy this?”

My Ugly Trendy Rug

I know, you are probably looking at this rug and thinking that it is quite a pretty rug. Maybe you own a similar one yourself.

I sometimes don’t remember how I start liking something, but I remember this rug.

I am not a fan of black and white design; there is something so un-elegant and cold about it. Then also, these little diamond-shaped patterns are just so…pointless.

But I kept seeing this rug. And seeing it.

It was everywhere. Several years later, I couldn’t open a home magazine without seeing the rug in different designs, shaggy and flat, wool and synthetic, outdoor and indoor.

Exactly as Paula Scher said, 5 years down the track, I had a similar rug in my home. Yikes!

How about you? What are some of your examples of ugly turned pretty by trendsetting?


  1. I can say that we really need to try it first rather than saying you would never since most of the time, you end p liking it. This was quite an interesting read.

    1. Author

      Well, like most things, it comes down to the power of advertising and the “tyranny” of the majority!

  2. Haha I can’t really speak for fashion, but I agree with being careful about speaking or living in extremes. We just can’t trust that the feelings we have at a given moment will last!

  3. That’s great you said ‘never say never’.Not only for fashion,this is also so true with most of the things in life.

  4. There is one thing I learned early on in life – don’t live in absolutes – meaning do not say never. Whether that goes for trends, behaviors, beliefs, or just about anything else. I really enjoyed your post – blessings!

    1. Author

      Exactly! I think most of us learn that at some point in our lives 🙂

  5. hahaha yeah, skinny jeans and flats look awful together! Although, I’m not really big on trends, as you said, never say never.

    1. Author

      I am glad someone else thinks that about skinny jeans and flats 🙂

  6. heheh yup! i had that with ikea stripe rug … and its been living now in my bedroom for the last few years 😉

  7. LOL I have learned to never say never too. Mine was ripped jeans. I swore I’d never buy them. Now my teen has a closet full of them that were paid by yours truly. And even worse, I like them!

  8. I am probably about season behind when it comes to trends so maybe not quite the 5 years! LOL. Skinny jeans have lasted much longer than expected so even after 5 years, you’re still in trend! Love the whole rug story. Glad you love it now.

    1. Author

      Lol, yes, trends tend to flip our tastes, and many times we aren’t really aware of it. (not applied to fashion only, but anything, including lifestyle, I’d say)

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever read a quote about fashion that was more right on than that one. I’ve always found it so confusing to try to figure out how to be trendy. So I just wear flannel all the time. LOL

    1. Author

      I know, right? I wouldn’t only apply this to fashion, but any trends really… including blogging, social media and the way we use it, etc.

  10. This was a really interesting read. Fashion and trends are always so cyclical. It’s fascinating.

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