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Carly Angel

IR-3 11 AP #17
3 January 2019

Interview 2
Dr. Michelle Childs, University of Tennessee, Assistant Professor
3 January 2019

● Do you have any questions about the program or my project direction?

○ I proceeded to tell her about the course and how it is a class that I take everyday
in school.
○ We then talked about the overall direction of my project and she gave me some
insight on how fast fashion companies are trying to do recycling projects, but how
effective these actually are is not clear.
■ “At stores like H&M there is a coupon incentive to donate your clothing.
So it is interesting if these brands genuinely care about what is being
recycled or if people are just looking for that 50% off.” (MC).
○ I was unaware of these programs so I gained a lot of knowledge about this and it
is something that I want to look further into because I can potentially use it for the
part of my paper where I talk about preventative measures.

● How did you become interested in the fast fashion industry, and what would you say is
your primary interest with in the fashion industry?
○ Dr. Childs told me about how she was always interested in trends and took and
fashion marketing class in college, and it became something that she was really
interested in. She then persuaded a masters in apparel merchandising. Then she
came to the point where she wanted to educated others so she got her PhD.
○ This was critical for me to ask at the beginning because she was referred to me by
someone else that I had reached out to, so I did not know that much about her.
But, after hearing her story of how she got into this industry it really helped me to
know how to guide the conversation.
○ Her primary focus in the industry is branding and collaborations between lower
and higher end brands. This was not something that I have really looked into but it
sparked some other questions on how branding and fast fashion relate to one

● How would you say that branding has effects the rise of fast fashion? And how high end
brands are transitioning more into what fast fashion retailers are doing.
○ I was trying to connect what Dr. Child's specializes in to what I am looking into.
■ “The reason why fashion companies are changing their fashion cycle, ya
you are right it used to be like fall and spring lines and now it is just this
constant flux. Partly to compete with fast fashion retailers in that if they
were to come out with say like a fall collection well ya know H&M and
Forever 21 are going to have the exact same merchandise just copied.”
○ I that the direction that we took this point and how high end brands are coming
out with clothing more frequently to make sure that they are not getting copied by
lower level brands was very interesting. When I first read about how luxury
brands are now coming out with collections more frequently I was honestly kind
of shocked because I thought that it was taking away the integrity of the brands
and made me not see them as “luxury” as they are portrayed. But after Dr. Childs
explained how they do not want to be copied it made sense for the business side
of these high end brands. Because if people can get the same exact thing for way
less money and there is nothing new from the high end brands then the high end
brands will suffer.

● How do you think social media has affected how often people buy and do you think that
this is being utilized by the entire fashion spectrum?
○ Dr. Child's response to this question by talking more about how small brands
benefit greatly from social media. This is something that I definitely want to look
further into because it shows that if smaller sustainable brands use social media
their platforms can grow tremendously.
○ She gave me an example of a small local boutique where she lives in Knoxville
that has almost 20,000 followers.
■ “It benefits across the board, but where it most benefits are the small and
up and coming business that can have that free platform… They are
basically competing at the same level as big businesses who have a million
dollar budget.”(MC)
○ Also on this topic we talked about how social media can create greater awareness
for higher end brands. Because high school and college students are interested in
high end brands but probably do not have the money to buy these things. But the
bands get a lot of awareness because people want these things.

● Do you think that small boutiques ethically sourcing brands will be able to reach a point
one day when they are in real competition with the big fast fashion retailers?
○ When we started to discuss this Dr. Child's did not have a definitive answer nut
she was hopeful, like the rest of us. But there are big brands like patagonia that
have been able to really capture the market while still using ethically sourced
materials. She also mentioned that in the future she hopes that there will be a truly
sustainable high end brand.
○ I think that this would do a lot of the fashion industry because all of the biggest
trend come from the top. So, if a sustainable high end brand were to become
popular then lower level fast fashion brands may start to copy them on this trend
as well.
○ It is going to be up to younger generations, like myself, to be the game changers
in the industry.

● Awareness within my community and my project goals.

○ Transitioning from talking about how my generation is the ones who are going to
make this change I brought up my goals for my project, and how my peers have
no idea what is going on in the fashion industry and all of its effects.
○ I explained my current project goals: Host a consumer awareness seminar for the
community to educate people on the negative effects of the fashion industry. One
big problem is that people are just unaware of what goes on in the fashion
industry and production, so if they are more informed then they may make better
shopping choices.
○ Dr. Child's said a good metaphor that if you see “Organic” on the bottle then
consumers are much more likely to buy it and become educated on it. If we get a
sustainable brands that is competing with these big Brands then customers will be
more inclined to become educated.

● Do you have any experience in looking into preventative measures for any of the negative
environmental effects of fast fashion?
○ Dr. Childs gave me some really good examples of brands who have an interactive
supply chain and you can see exactly how your clothing is being made. An
example of this is Rapanui Clothing which is a sustainable clothing brand out of
New Zealand. They will tell you exactly where you items are and the materials
used to make them.
○ This is definitely a step in the right direction because the supply chain is so
transparent and east to follow.
○ This is definitely something I want to look into for the part of my paper where I
will be talking about the way to help with the problems of fast fashion.

Overall I think that this interview went very well. There were times where I was

struggling to get my words out and form complete thoughts and questions, but Dr. Childs was

very nice and helpful. I haven't really looked into the luxury side of things and how these brands

are using social media to create awareness. At the end of the interview she asked me about my

plans for college and if I was planning on pursuing a degree in fashion. She offered to guide me

through looking into programs because some are better than others. I thought that this was so

nice and she seems very excited to help me in any way she can. She gave me some good topics

to look into for paper which I also found very helpful. What I will do differently next time is just

to try to have more specific questions because I was trying to think of some on the spot and they

did not always come out that clearly. But overall I really enjoyed talking with Dr. Childs and I

can not wait to continue to work with her!