Offering designers access to professional quality images that truly celebrate their beautiful designs.
If there is one thing I have learned since joining Making Things, it is just how many hats designers are required to wear. Fashion designer, engineer, graphic designer, writer, social media and marketing expert, customer support, stylist, model, and photographer. As small business owners designers, especially in their early career, simply don’t have the resources to outsource these jobs to professionals and therefore have to make do with what they have available to them.
Usually, this means modeling their own designs or finding a friend or relative willing to model for them, and organizing their own photoshoots. A lucky few might have a professional or skilled amateur photographer in their lives to offer their services. But again, many have to settle for what they can do themselves. This is unfortunate given that these photographs are by far the main (if not only way) that makers are going to discover new patterns to make. In the incredibly competitive digital world, it is so easy to be lost in the crowd and even the most talented designers can be overlooked if their images aren’t selling their designs. Images are also important for practical reasons; I can’t tell you how many beautifully photographed designs I have seen but chosen not to make because I can’t see the garment! Makers can invest a lot of time and money into their projects, and photographs are often the only way to judge if a pattern is going to fit and be flattering. This becomes even more difficult if you are someone who doesn’t look like the designer, or designer’s friend modeling the garment. For makers of different sizes, proportions, skin colors or ages, it can be even harder to visualize if a pattern is going to work for you. It is for all of these reasons that I was so excited to be given the opportunity to art direct two photoshoots for two of our amazing designers. I was finally able to find an outlet for all of my fiber world photography frustrations, while also offering these designers access to professional quality images that truly celebrated their beautiful designs.
Our first photoshoot was with Annie Haas. Because Annie lives in the US, she was kind enough to send us a box of her samples for us to photograph. The pieces we received were beautiful, understated and feminine. Garments designs to be made in rich, textured yarns. Things you would expect to find in a carefully selected handmade capsule wardrobe. They were inspiring, but also challenging. How could I style these items to lift them without overpowering them? A lot of the inspiration for this photoshoot came from some of the most iconic photography of the fiber world, like Brooklyn Tweed or Laine Magazine. I wanted these photographs to be understated, beautiful and all about the knits.
Our model Ali blew me away, I have a whole new appreciation for modeling as a profession since seeing her work. I loved how she brought so much grace and femininity, but also just a hint of attitude to the images; just like Annie’s designs, she was soft, but textured, understated, but complex. I wanted the outfits for the shoot to be aspirational, but also realistic.
I tried to put together outfits that elevated Annie’s designs but a maker could imagine themselves wearing. Similarly, our makeup artist Zoe kept things natural. Ali is a professional model, but I still wanted her to feel real. It was fantastic to see Ali working with our photographer Trudi. Trudi was so quick to embrace the idea of a knitwear photoshoot. She was excited to play with the different shapes, textures, and movement in Annie’s designs. We played with the draping fabric of the oversized “Calligraphy” shawl, the crisp stitch designs of the “Aimsir” cardigan and the grunge attitude of Annie’s “Nirvana” pullover.
Rachel’s photoshoot was a spontaneous event- it was organized the day before she came to Australia for a wedding- but no less exciting for the team. Rachel’s designs are vibrant, youthful and exciting. They’re the sort of patterns I image someone knitting in the grass at a music festival or reclining in the passenger seat on a summer road trip. I wanted our photographs to communicate this same bright, youthful feeling.
Our model Bec could not have been a better choice. Bec has the most contagious smile I have ever seen and she brought so much energy and joy to the shoot. Rachel’s designs have so much color and detail that I needed our model to have enough personality to make them shine and Bec absolutely did that.
It is very important to me that our models always look like they would really wear the designs and outfits we put together. I tried to style these pieces in a way that was comfortable and casual, but also bright and fun. The end result was a lot of denim, with a few fun accessories to compliment Rachel’s bright color palette.
Once again Zoe went for a natural look; I wanted to embrace the natural, youthful energy of the designs and our model. We also worked with our same photographer Trudi once again. This time we had a bit more fun with props and the bright, graphic backgrounds of our location- Small Talk Event Space. I especially loved the way that the stark black, white and yellow geometric shapes on the external wall of the space contrasted with the soft lines and mottled, hand-dyed yarns in Rachel’s garments.
While we don’t have any immediate plans for our next photoshoot- we are all busy working on the app and planning our exciting Edinburgh adventure- we are all full of ideas for what our future shoots will be! I have become a bit of an amateur location scout, everywhere I go I am on the lookout for potential new photoshoot sets! Something we would love to do is put together a larger scale shoot, with samples from lots of designers being photographed over multiple days with multiple models. This would be such a great way to showcase more patterns from more designers, and an opportunity to bring in a more diverse cast of models. Watch this space!