By day, the anonymous Portland man who calls himself Herman Wakefield repairs and consigns used furniture. By night, he posts memes on Instagram.
Under the ‘Gram handle @northwest_mcm_wholesale, Wakefield makes memes that use internet lingo and joke structure to talk about midcentury modern furniture. (Over 50? A meme is basically a web comic that mocks somebody.) Even the name Herman Wakefield is a furniture pun: a combo of furniture companies Herman Miller and Heywood-Wakefield.
The account began as a sort of authenticity audit, calling out resellers for selling designer fakes or taking unwarranted markups, then expanded to gags about how all the houses flipped on HGTV look the same and how Portland boys in Carhartt jackets haven’t picked up any tools but a video game console. Mostly Wakefield skewers design trends—you might’ve seen his “Frank Lloyd Wright would’ve loved COVID patios” meme pop up in one of your group chats.
Currently approaching 35,000 followers, Wakefield had no idea his account would ever get this big and was actually “quite satisfied when I had 300 followers.” Of all his creations, Wakefield’s personal favorite is the “Horseshoe Theory of Chair Design and Function,” featuring a constellation of chair designs to match the spectrum of political ideologies. (An Eames chair is liberalism. A La-Z-Boy is male chauvinism. It tracks.)
“I spent several days on that one,” he says. “A friend from high school sent it to me because he thought I’d like it. It’s a weird feeling when people you haven’t seen in years send you your own memes.”