Project Stopshop is a visual exploration of fast fashion consumption by Elizabeth Illing. We sat down to talk about the powerful message of the anti-fast fashion project and what we can do to change for the better.
We love your project which is a visual exploration of fast fashion consumption. Tell us how this all started?
I began this project as part of my final project at uni, where I studied Fashion Promotion. I decided I should create a visually interesting anti-fast fashion campaign, I wanted to approach the topic from a new angle to grab peoples attention.
For this project you have also been interviewing people about different points. One was f.e. the value they place on their clothes. What was the outcome on that one?
As part of my initial research I surveyed peoples wardrobes and gathered data based on the actual numbers of garments they owned. This was split in to 3 categories: often worn, rarely worn and never worn. Seeing the figures often shocked people and they sometimes felt embarrassed by the amount of items only worn a handful of times! Pulling out clothes they had forgotten they even owned and making piles of things they no longer wanted. The sheer volume of clothes we buy means that so much of it quickly becomes less important to us – we think that its lifespan is limited.
What other important questions were you trying to figure out and what´s the outcome?
I was asking people how often they shop, where they shop and what makes them want to buy clothes. Coming from a fashion degree background myself and a lot of my friends had ridiculously unsustainable shopping habits! The quotes I gathered from these conversations are the alarming messages I portray on my garment label images.
“Since starting the project it’s pushed me to act more consciously and realise that even though I may feel like it’s not making a difference you have to start somewhere…”
It´s not a new topic – I think we know for a long time about how our clothes are produced and that we have too many of them etc.. Why do you think it is still so difficult for most of us to refrain from mass consumerism and buying cheaply produced clothes?
We are so used to the easy access to new fashion, online shopping means we can receive garments incredibly quickly and for low prices. Most people can afford to buy practically a whole new wardrobe from fast fashion brands every season and this is not seen as abnormal. We are constantly seeing images of bloggers, influencers, models etc on Instagram wearing new styles and fast-fashion brands will capitalise on this to persuade us we need more clothes too!
I also think that even though each one of us can do their part, are we as people really able to solve that problem without politics?
The two go together but people changing their habits one by one will prove that there is a demand for slowing down fashion and brands will have to respond to that.
Can you give three practical tips to someone who would like to change his habits and shop more consciously but still be trendy and look stylish?
– Invest in fewer items that cost more but you really love them and the better quality will make them last.
– Explore vintage shops, eBay, Depop etc for second hand garments
– Mend or alter clothes that you already own to extend their lifespan
How did your own shopping habits change once you started Project Stopshop?
It’s changed how I buy clothes, because before I was the complete extreme of buying new items every week and not thinking about the repercussions of my actions! Since starting the project it’s pushed me to act more consciously and realise that even though I may feel like it’s not making a difference you have to start somewhere..
Fashion brands or designers you admire?
The most important thing in life is… ?
Being healthy and happy!