How Moms Became The Coolest Addition to Fashion Campaigns

by Freya Drohan

The pandemic has turned the creative direction of fashion campaigns and e-commerce shoots on its head, but perhaps nothing is more surprising — and heartwarming — than the addition of ‘real life’ moms to lookbooks and social media feeds. 

While fashion has always been obsessed with high profile, celebrity, and supermodel mom-and-daughter duos (think: Cindy and Kaia, Pat and Anna Cleveland), we’re noticing more and more everyday matriarchs adding a welcome sense of relatability and authenticity to campaigns.

Take British label Rixo for example. Known and beloved on both sides of the Atlantic for re-envisioned retro-themed and flea market-inspired dresses, the brand has always adhered to a marketing campaign strategy they call ‘Humans of Rixo.’

Meaning, you won’t find hyper-produced advertising materials or look books showcasing their latest cult-status printed frock. Instead, co-founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey enlist their own staff, friends, family members, a select number of Instagram It Girls, and genuine fans to model their wares.

Case in point: an image shared to their feed this week shows a fashion buyer posing alongside her mom in harmoniously printed dresses.

Earlier this year, when strict lockdown orders were firmly in place, the brand turned its attention to reinforcing social distancing guidelines by commissioning imagery of moms and daughters (and even grandmas) wearing Rixo safely at home.

The brand also encouraged followers to nominate their healthcare worker relatives to receive free garments as an indicator of how much they appreciate them. As a result, many followers name checked moms and mom-in-laws, and the resulting images of them in their Rixo blouses and frocks made for some emotive Instagram posts.

At L.A.-based DÔEN, sisters Margaret and Katherine Kleveland strove to put moms front and center since the brand’s inception. After all, the dreamy, vintage-inspired venture was founded with a mission to eliminate the gender pay gap and to only work with manufacturers that support and empower women.

It’s therefore far from surprising to see images that show mothers breastfeeding or caring for children at home while debuting DÔEN’s signature prairie dresses.

It’s evident that a genuine ‘community of motherhood’ is central to the brand’s ethos too. Even on the ‘About Us’ landing page on their e-commerce site, the entirely-female design and creative team have pictures with their offspring to accompany their bios, instead of traditional corporate head shots.

Meanwhile, buzzy Antwerp, Belgium-based newcomer Bernadette undeniably has the inimitable mother-daughter bond at the heart of everything it does, as it’s the collaborative effort of Charlotte de Geyter and her mom Bernadette.

And of course, Bernadette (a former buyer for Ralph Lauren) and Charlotte (a classically-trained artist) are their own best advertisement on social media. From chic dinner parties to dispatches from their showroom, the pair showcase their own pieces in the best way possible.

As soon as their feminine, hand painted silk creations made their way to the likes of Net-A-Porter and Moda Operandi, shoppers immediately paid attention.

Cleverly, the way the duo pose effortlessly in their designs seems to add to Bernadette’s design USP, as they convincingly demonstrate that their garments aren’t confined to a specific age group.

As the pandemic continues to challenge the relevance of expensive, elaborate fashion shoots (it’s safe to say more than one September issue cover will be shot on an iPhone this year), audiences are increasingly relating to something more wholesome and relatable. These brands show that the best asset for a compelling campaign is perhaps sitting right beside us at home.

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