After nearly 30 years in the industry, Stanley Carroll walked away from fashion design in 2009, with no intention of returning.
He felt the industry had become watered down with uninspired clothing and, more importantly, had become disconnected from the people who wear them. “I didn’t touch a piece of cloth during that time,” says Carroll. “I didn’t enjoy the process anymore. I didn’t like my job anymore.”
He did some travelling, some writing – even wrote a yet-to-be-published children’s book. But, he missed working with textiles. So, earlier this year, Carroll returned to the scene on his own terms.
He wanted direct contact with his customers and the creative freedom to showcase new designs more regularly than once a season. “As fast as the fashion industry likes to portray itself as, it’s actually a very slow-moving entity. If I had an idea for a dress shape or style, it took a long time to actually reach the public,” he says.
The concept of a pop-up shop, the global trend of a temporary boutique set up in a rented location, would allow Carroll to focus on the aspect of the industry that he loves most – the designing – and allow him to see customers’ reactions to his new lines first-hand.
Carroll is not the first designer to host a pop-up shop. In 2003, Isaac Mizrahi showcased a new line inside a temporary space in New York City’s Rockefeller Center. In Edmonton, the Fashion Event holds regular pop-up shops all over the city.
“A number of people have come up to me over the last few years and said, ‘I like fashion, but I’m not enjoying shopping anymore,'” says Carroll. He believes the popularity of pop-up shops is in part a reaction to the rise of box stores, an issue he had fun with last fall at his first pop-up shop, where the furniture was made from boxes.
Carroll has held two pop-up shops at Orange Hall in Old Strathcona so far, and he plans to host one every six weeks at various locations. He’s even hoping to do a pop-up shop in Antwerp, Belgium, next fall. “With a show every six weeks, I can’t get creatively lazy.”