Kintsugi's first photoshoot showcased not only their upcoming collection but the two models the fashion industry should sit up and take note of. Founder Emma McClelland explains why…
Monday 21st January. It felt like Christmas Day, just with fewer simple carbohydrates and the unwritten expectation that I not show up in pyjamas.
The photoshoot at Seventy7 Group’s Manchester studios was every bit as exciting as I imagined it would be – even more so when ITV confirmed they’d be sending correspondent Sarah Rogers to interview us, with cameraman Simon, to film some of the action.
I arrived early, the keen bean that I am, and met hair & makeup artist Caroline; photographer Nikita; stylist Cara and digital assistant Josh. Everyone was looking forward to the day ahead and I knew instantly that we were in the best hands for our first ever shoot.
At 9:30 the stars of the show arrived for hair and makeup. Caitlyn and Becky are two vastly underrated models who each bring something different to the table (or studio, I should say). Caitlyn seamlessly goes from the most intense, brooding looks to the most vibrant smile you’ve ever seen, where Becky plays to the camera, knowing instinctively what looks good, and conveying sultry to perfection.
While Becky was in the makeup chair, ITV’s Sarah Rogers arrived and cameraman Simon jumped straight into filming some of the shoot.
The first outfit of the day was our statement cape – navy blue and grey, with a kintsugi print lining – a look that Caitlyn rocked almost effortlessly. Then came the interviews.
Sarah’s natural ability to put people at ease was hugely appreciated, and I think we all knew the finished piece would reflect the passion we’d all brought to the set that morning. The point made among the three of us were:
1. Disabled people don’t necessarily want a separate offering when it comes to clothing – as Caitlyn said, “There shouldn’t need to be a shop just for disabled people. We want to be together.” This is where universal design comes into play, allowing product developers to create things that can be accessed and enjoyed by the widest range of people, regardless of age, size, disability, etc.
2. “Change is happening, but we need it quicker” – a point aptly covered by Becky. Yes, there has been better representation in fashion and the media of late, with more diversity than there has been in the past, but there are moments when you realise there’s a lot of ground to be covered still. Tess Holliday daring to accept a cover girl spot in Cosmopolitan because her existing is apparently promoting obesity (many people who say this haven’t been as vocal and angry at the years of underweight models on magazine covers or the ‘circle of shame’ in the editorials. It’s not just in fashion either. Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of a quadriplegic sparked a lot of debate, with actress Melissa Johns pointing out in a TV interview that when disabled actors are not being invited to audition for non-disabled roles, it’s obvious why they get angry when they’re then not invited to audition for disabled roles either! “Get us in the [audition] room and we’ll do the rest,” Melissa commented.
3. It doesn’t always take huge changes to make products and services more accessible. Sometimes, it’s the little things. For example, internal and pockets can be used in different ways, allowing medical devices to be accommodated (or just your cash and keys, whatever). Pockets placed in a location that’s not at hip-level are more practical for wheelchair users, but don’t negatively affect you if you’re not a wheelchair user, so why not?
For me, one of the most obvious things that transpired throughout the day was how natural both Becky and Caitlyn were in front of the camera. The day wasn’t without its obstacles, with Caitlyn experiencing terrible back pain (you won’t see this in any of the photos because her mind is focused on the job).
They know what they are doing, they create fantastic photographs, and we should be seeing more of them, and models like them, in “mainstream” campaigns. I've included a couple of the unedited photos so you can get an idea of what I mean.
We’ll be uploading the final images to our website in the coming days, once the pros at Seventy7 have finished with them, so keep checking in for updates on our social media channels.
In the meantime, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the team at Seventy7, to Sarah and Simon at ITV, and to Caitlyn and Becky. I couldn’t have picked better models for this photoshoot. Thank you.