We decided to write a little blog post about our A/W kids collection 'Are We Nearly There Yet?' because...well..in the bonkers upside down kinda year that was 2020 it feels a bit like a triumph and those should DEFINITELY be celebrated! Also, it's kind of a different way of working for us. Let me explain!
How It Started
In our usual way of working we would come up with some designs for adult clothing, organise some photography (whether by us or a professional) and once they've launched we would wait to see which designs were popular and might also work for kids sizes. With this collection however we started off with kids in mind from the beginning. We had been chatting to the brilliant Hannah of In The Den Photography about doing an A/W shoot after she had done a summer one for us during lockdown with her own kids. We got a date in the diary for a weekend in September that she would be visiting family down South and that became a deadline for shooting...at that point we had no idea what we were shooting! Oh and we also put out a callout for models..with only a vague idea of what the collection theme might be. The thing with us and deadlines is we work way better as they become dangerously close! Two weeks before the shoot we were getting ready to go and visit my family in Wales for the first time since March when they suddenly went in to local lockdown. Instead of moping around we decided we had better crack on and get this collection designed! We knew that we wanted to create a really empowering, inspiring and playful collection for kids and we became really obsessed with adventure themes, retro camping aesthetic and American 1960's Scouting...basically Moonrise Kingdom vibes! Luckily Hannah was VERY onboard with this entire theme and whilst Jam and I created the collection we had a beautiful joint Pinterest board on the go with her.
'Scenic Route Society' was a design idea we'd had doodled in our sketchbooks for a couple of years with adults in mind. We had tried working it up but had never been completely happy with the execution though and it wasn't until we combined it with our inspirations for this collection that it fell in to place. The only other design that already existed was 'Bear With Me' which is actually one of our first ever hello DODO designs! Sometimes revisiting old work and improving on it is really fun though, in this case just a few little tweaks to simplify the style. 'Early Bird' and 'It's The Little Things That Count' were the designs that we had the most trouble with and pushed us right up to the deadline of the shoot....they almost didn’t make the cut...so of course those two have proved to be two of the most popular ones!
We had never done a callout for kids to model before and we weren't entirely sure if we would get many takers with the unsettling state of the World. Yeah, we were wrong...our inbox WENT WILD. We literally could not believe how many emails we got!!! Some were from people we already knew but most were complete strangers and all of them were full of photos of gorgeous kids with brilliant names and little stories about their personalities. We closed the callout pretty quickly as we were totally overwhelmed and choosing was near impossible! Luckily photographing loads of kids is Hannah's dream job and she agreed to us having basically as many as we could squeeze in to the day (in carefully planned time slots for covid safety of course).
Hats by Wild Things, Skirt by Lily & Giraffe
Location Location - Cuckmere Haven
Once the design process was underway and we were deep in to our adventure themed inspiration, we turned our thoughts to where in Sussex we could shoot. We knew we needed one really dramatic, wild location worthy of being an English version of Moonrise Kingdom. And one that was the polar opposite, fun, bright and colourful but also easily accessible should any of our models or their family require that. I had a brainwave! Our wonderful friend Sophie of We Are Mountain (and also shop owner at Inspired Worthing) has a beautiful cottage overlooking Cuckmere Haven that has been in her family for many years (her Great Grandfather was the last coastguard there). It's such a special place and the view of the Seven Sisters, the sea, the sky paired with the gorgeous red doored cottage...every time I'm there I find it hard to believe that it really exists. It was the perfect location for 'Are We Nearly There Yet?' and we feel so so so lucky that we got to shoot there. It was lucky timing too as they had just finished filming Worzel Gummidge there! Sophie's sister Lucy also brought her gorgeous kids Jack and Maisie (below) to model for us too which just made it even more special! This incredible and iconic view is at serious risk of being lost forever though, the sea defences desperately need to be restored to protect the cottages - check out the charity Cuckmere Haven SOS for all the details and also to read lots of incredible facts about the history of Cuckmere Haven. From smugglers to WWII to Idris Elba, it’s SO interesting!
Jam positions our doll's house on the beach...as you do!
Elsie nailing the shot wearing some gorgeous Mint Cake Club leggings
Mylah brought ALL the energy to our shoot! We loved this outfit with our Take A Hike sweatshirt, Lily & Giraffe skirt and her own leopard print leggings.
Location Location - Eastbourne
For our second shoot we didn't need to look much further along the coast as we chose to shoot outside the Towner Gallery which is a feast of colour. We wanted this shoot to be bold, fun and simple and the only props we used were some cardboard protest-esque signs that we painted ourselves with some slogan ideas from the kids. It was so cold and windy but the kids were absolute pros and brought ALL the high energy poses and every one of them nailed it literally within minutes.
Hannah, Jam and pugs shelter from the cold wind outside the Towner Gallery
The wonderful Audrey wearing our Flower Power sweatshirt and leggings by Curious Moon. Audrey is a modelling pro and nailed her poses in a few minutes!
Mimi rocking more incredible handmade leggings by Curious Moon
Looking back on it now, it feels slightly bonkers that we pulled it off...we organised not one but two outdoors shoots. Across the two days we had 20 kids from 10 families and all organised in to one hour slots to be nice and covid safe (and organising people is NOT my strong point!), we sourced all sorts of props from a boot sale and facebook marketplace, we designed, burnt the screens, printed and finished everything in the correct sizes for each kid (that's after decided what each one would wear!) AND organised 4 other indie businesses who sent us items to feature in the shoot too. All of that in a couple of weeks timeframe whilst stressing about lockdown happening, the weather potentially being terrible AND a poorly pug. PHEW. I feel like I need a lie down after listing all that!! We hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about how this collection and photoshoots came together. A HUGE thank you to Hannah for capturing this collection so beautifully and also of course a massive thank you to our models Maisie, Jack, Elsie, Oliver, Mylah, Milo, Isla, Archie, Caspian, Marley, Rufus, Emlyn, Iris, Audrey, Rex, Willow, Mimi, Oliver, Ravi and Maya and all of their parents and guardians! ALSO thank you to Wild Things, Lily & Giraffe, Mint Cake Club and Curious Moon for working with us!
We’re so excited for more kids stuff in 2021 and more fun photoshoots with In The Den Photography!
All model photos © Copyright In the Den Photography www.inthedenphotography.com