So according to trend hunters PSFK these rubber Italian Sunglasses will last forever ( or at least they won’t break when you sit on them). Silly colours and a bit of a fashion challenge for even the most chic Italian- but it got The Ideas Machine brains thinking.
There are loads of products which ‘fail’ needlessly, or which only last a year or two because obsolescence has been ‘built in’ to keep the consumer wheels turning. These glasses, ( which could be a little more stylish but bear with us) could spell the end of replacing broken shades at the end of a summer road trip…… and the slowing of profits for those who rely on us breaking our sunglasses regularly.
The Ealing Comedy Classic, The Man in The White Suit, starring Alec Guinness, takes a comic look at innovation in the textile industry. The point it makes is a serious one for brands and innovation; not all innovation is good for business. When stuff lasts too long, commerce loses out. It’s why Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper was never his best idea. It’s why we can buy white goods and electronics for next to nothing ( and why iphones have breakable screens). So innovation needs to be tempered by what the market needs, namely that there has to be a reason to come back, upgrade, replace. Marketers need to balance the need, quality and reliability with the built in obsolescence tolerance of their customers.
The Ideas Machine was wondering at what point we consumers might get fed up, how many times do you have to replace the screen on an iphone to wonder about a competitor offering ? We were also musing on the down-sides of all this consumerism, piles of unwanted broken electrical goods and waste.
Even though they are probably the least fash -tastic shades we’ve seen in a long time, we applaud the Italians at Italia Independent and their rubber sunglasses, and we are instructing The Ideas Machine team to invest in a pair!