‘I shop therefore I am’ – That’s a statement that’s usually used in a consumer critical context or as a slightly provocative/confessional headline in women’s magazines. But it’s always meant ironical. Because it’s the epitome of superficiality put in one sentence. I actually think it’s a true sentence. Let’s look at it step by step: ‘I AM’ – big words. When do I start to become an ‘I’, detach myself from the ‘WE’ of mum, dad, family? What defines me as an individual? Is it the time when I start to walk and explore or when I want to do everything by myself? Or when I start pre-school or school? I am still pretty dependent on parental supervision at that time. Food, clothes, toys, friends – pretty much all pre-chosen by the parents. They have the responsibility, they have the car, they have the money. And there we go. When a kid starts having desires that go beyond mum’s comprehension of what’s neccessary or nice and the kid starts to save up pocket /birthday money to be independent from mum’s opinion and starts to decide for her/himself what’s neccessary and nice – that’s definitely the time when the ‘WE’ becomes more of an ‘I’. Deciding what to wear and actually buying it without having to ask is a big step towards independence. The first time you have a bank account and you actually get money transferred to it that you earned from you first little job delivering newspapers. The first salary you get from the first proper job you started. The freedom of not having to ask anybody if you can buy something. So what we are really talking about is not some brainless shopping spree with your parent’s/ spouse’s credit card – but independence. And that sometimes that starts with a little owl wallet full of saved money that pays for a jumper and a jeans jacket (that were definitely not neccessary in mum’s opinion) at the counter of a Parisian fashion store. It starts with deciding to go shopping with your best friend rather than your mum although mum might pay for more. It starts with the desire to be an independent person with a free will. And that’s not superficial at all, that is the fundament for a free, intellectual spirit.
Eleni wears a jumsuit by H+M (bought and paid for by herself), a jumper by Camaieu (bought and paid for by herself in Paris), sandals by Zebra (bought by her parents) and two shopping bags full of souvenirs from Paris (bought and paid for by herself and definitely not neccessary).