Julia Shyver


Mod-ish, 2023
Variable Dimension
Archival Pigment Prints,  Prints on Fabric,  Clothing Rack, Used Clothing

Mod-ish is a satirical body of work that both indulges in the pleasures of fast-fashion and presents its negative cultural and environmental impact to viewers. Since the 1990’s, fast-fashion companies have been creating garments that are trendy, affordable and can be quickly produced in order to meet rapidly changing consumer demands. By doing so, these garments have become more disposable to consumers, not only due to the rapid change in trends, but the decline in quality as well.

The word, modish, is defined as “conforming to or following what is currently popular and fashionable.” The title of this work, however, is Mod-ish, since fast-fashion trends are only popular for a short amount of time before another takes their place, making the use of the word even more temporary and disposable.

The images, made in the lighting studio, mimic the commercial styles that are used to market fast-fashion to consumers. At first glance, everything seems normal, but with a closer look, the images in Mod-ish expose the viewer to the fact that the clothing is falling apart on the models

In addition to the studio photographs, Mod-ish also includes images made at a secondhand store in the Lawrence area. These images highlight the direct impact that overconsumption has had on secondhand stores by showing what consumers normally don’t see: cluttered back rooms, storage units, and donation closets bursting open with bags. One may think that once they get rid of an item that someone else will be next to enjoy it, but the odds of that item selling quickly during the current season are very slim. Chances are that it will be put in storage for the following year, only to be marked down until someone buys it or it is deemed “unsellable” due to being worn or outdated.

Text is also integrated into the project to provide data concerning the ethics of fast-fashion. Negative reviews are sprinkled throughout the work, mocking the quality of the products, which softens the harsh reality of the data provided. It is important for the viewer to know how these products function outside of a website, shop, lighting studio, or a warehouse setting, and the thousands of negative reviews from verified shoppers reflect that.