Blog post

How did we get so much stuff?

The rise of consumerism in the 20th century

by
Sofie Taes (KU Leuven / Photoconsortium)

Throughout the 20th Century almost every facet of society changed dramatically to result in the global capitalist economy of today. But how did we get here?

In this three-part vlog series, we’re diving into 20th-century history to find out how changes in production processes, consumer patterns and advertising strategies awoke the little hoarder inside of us. How has technological innovation fundamentally changed our production cycle? How did we get to this level of globalisation where we can consume products from all over the world? Were brands always as important and powerful as they are now? And what created the shift from functional fashion over haute couture to the disposable fast fashion culture we're in today?

1: Did robots kill the artisan star?

Our first episode focuses on technology, transport, logistics, and the digital revolution. Dive into the whirlwind of change and innovation that is the 20th Century in this first episode:

2: Consumerism and Advertising

Episode 2 is a sneak peek into the history of branding and advertisement, and how consumerism became the new religion.

Come back soon for the last episode of this series, dedicated to the rise of fashion culture in the 20th Century!

Dive into other stories and collections from the 20th Century

This blog is part of the Europeana XX. A Century of Change project which focuses on the 20th century and its social, political and economic changes.

history consumerism capitalism industrialisation