~ (7) In Conversation with Sarah 
Addicott: The Nervous System

Photography Lara Coassin
Models Daniel Lopez-Cuellar and Sarah Addicott Styling Sarah Addicott
Words Lara Coassin

Sarah Addicott is a recent Fashion Communication graduate from the University of Brighton where she refined her styling practice. We spoke to her about her personal styling experience, the importance of sustainability and touched on her latest work: The Nervous System. It is part of her latest project Layers and reflects on fashion’s waste issue, the decomposition of garments, and the lack thereof.

Lara Coassin What got you into styling?

Sarah Addicott Oh, what got me into it?
So, my mum said that I started dressing myself from a very young age; I think; really young. I simply decided to dress myself now and she said that she can count on maybe one or two hands the number of times that she had to intervene.
I didn’t really get new clothes very much. There was a second-hand shop down the road from me called Choices. They donate money as well as the clothes they don’t sell to charity. Most of my toys were from there, my clothes, my uniform, and stuff. And it was just fun. My best friend in high school, she got to go to London quite a lot with her family because her dad lived there. And she would come back with stuff from the vintage shops, such nice clothes! And I guess that encouraged me too; the thought that no one else would have the same thing as you. ︎︎︎
LC How much of your personal style influence your styling work?

SA I think quite a bit.

LC How would you describe your styling practice?

SA Uhm, I really think about texture, colour, [leaning in closer to the microphone] texture, colour, and layering. Lots of layering.

LC Well, it seems that your style is very intentional.

SA I like to have intention behind everything, and everything has to have a meaning, everything has to have a place. ︎︎︎
LC When do you think you started thinking about sustainability in your work? Was there a particular event or time frame in your life? Something that triggered it or was it a slow progression?

SA My parents have always tried to grow vegetables and so have my grandparents.
[points at phone] Oh, look this is my mum with one of her tallest sunflowers. She’s shorter than me so, that’s her garden at home.
I also went through that classic fashion student thing of just hating fashion. And questioning why I would want to be in an industry that’s so harmful. I mean I’m still going through it and I’m quite shocked by how many people still buy into it. And I know, not everyone’s work can be sustainable, but I find it quite strange that you wouldn’t want to incorporate part of that into your work because that’s what we need. I feel like we all need to try and include something sustainable in all of our practices, no matter the topic it should always link back to that. Even where you’re sourcing clothing. ︎︎︎
LC And everything you use for your styling is second-hand, right?

SA Yeah, either the model owns it already, or I own it because they say that the most sustainable thing, we can do is use what we already have. We already have what is most sustainable because we already own it. I don’t want to make any more things.
And if I was doing a project and then I realised that I was going to have to do things that weren’t going to be sustainable, or I couldn’t find the styling to suit the shoot and I was going to have to buy things, I would just change the idea. We can’t … what is it? We can’t be stubborn! There’s no room for “I do something sustainable next time”, there is no time for that! We just have to be the ones to make the change.

SA And my mum always sewed when she was younger, she’d always make her own clothes. And my grandma knits; to be fair, my mum’s side is really really crafty. They either sew, knit, or they make cards. And my dad’s mum, she used to be a seamstress. She always gives me fabric that she’s getting rid of. ︎︎︎
LC Do you regularly sew for your styling as well?

SA I have done in the past and I might use some of the things that I’ve sewn [for this project]. I don’t know if I have any pictures from, uhm, the magazine project, I think I might...

LC For this project, how are you going about attaching the nervous system to the suit?

SA How? Appliqué, so like sew it on the, uhm… garment. It shouldn’t take too long because it’s the main branches, you know the main nerves and then all of the little ones are coming off of it...

LC Like a lifesize nervous system.

SA Yes, reconnecting with nature I’ve written down.

~ (Brighton and Hove, February 2022)