There’s something about Kmart that just ticks all the boxes for a lot of people.

How else do you explain the long queues (and we are talking round the block) of people waiting for a new store to open?

The shoppers all say the same thing: Kmart has “awesome stuff”. “It’s cheap and I can make my house look good.”

It’s a cult thing, clearly. Friends have even been known to hold parties in Kmart – the stores stay open till midnight, after all.

KMart living
It’s all about fashion for houses. Image: Kmart Living

The reason

We think we know exactly what causes the “Kmart hysteria” for homewares.

It’s all about fashion for houses. Just as people love to dress in the latest fashion, they also like to dress their homes.

We’re not talking classics here. We’re talking cheap stuff that can be in one season and out the next, just like chain-store clothes. (Just like Kmart clothes, for that matter.)

The huge rise in reality TV shows, such as The Block, has helped educate all of us. We are shown exactly how much nicer a sofa looks with colourful cushion and a matching throw. We know about contrasting textures and “layering”.

We love the idea of accessorising our homes, be it copper trinkets on the shelf or mugs and plates in “millennial pink”.

Just like a new outfit, these things make us feel great, especially when we pay so little for something that looks very like an expensive designer version – and that’s another thing Kmart is good at. The store’s buyers have an excellent eye for what’s on trend in the international designer stores, and they source similar versions at a price point that seems downright crazy.

KMart living
Just like a new outfit, these things make us feel great. Photo: Kmart Living

Then they market it, and Kmart has this down to a fine art, too. The store’s website shows us exactly how to style a room using Kmart products. There are little vignettes. This goes with that. Here’s how to get the look.

But it’s the price point that really pulls the punters. When you buy in bulk, as Kmart does, you can afford to sell stuff cheaply.

Yes, there is a downside

The quality is not always great – most of those cheap throws are not natural fabrics. But does it really matter, you might ask? In all likelihood they will last until the next season rings in a whole new look.

And if you worry about, dare we say it, more crap heading for landfill, and foreign workers’ pay rates, then Kmart has answers for those questions. You have to hunt a little harder to find this on the Kmart website, but the parent company has information about its commitment to “sourcing ethically”, and there’s a full sustainability report for Wesfarmers.

But the reality is, there are thousands of containers of this stuff coming in the country right now, and it’s all got to end up somewhere. Will it be on your bed or sofa? And, if so, for how long?

Urban Trend. Photo: Kmart Living

It may well be time to consider “slow fashion”, but we can’t see the Kmart party stopping any time soon.

Colleen Hawkes

— This originally appeared on Stuff

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