If first impressions are everything then nailing your launch campaign is not to be taken lightly. Fortunately we were in the brilliant creative hands of photographer Kerry Hallihan, who immediately understood our co-founder and creative director, Shanna Goldstone’s vision for our brand, our woman and our message. We chatted with Shanna about how it all went down.
Pari Passu: What did you hope to communicate with your first campaign?
Shanna Goldstone: I wanted to make sure that we presented the clothes as a true fashion collection—a fashion campaign. Not just a story about clothes for curvy women.
PP: Tell us about the choice to cast non-professional models?
SG: The decision to cast real women was born out of want and need. We couldn’t find models who fit our sample size (equivalent to size 18) through the traditional channels so we extended our search to the “real world.” We also wanted the first images of our brand to reflect who we believe our customers are as well as what they look like.
PP: Wouldn’t it have been easier to just use smaller samples?
SG: Sure, but it was important for us to show our clothes look like on a body that is truly reflective of the majority of women in this country, not some fashion ideal of what that looks like.
We also wanted the first images of our brand to reflect who we believe our customers are as well as what they look like.
PP: Did anything unexpected come out of that decision?
SG: When we turned our focus to looking for real women not professional models, we were thrilled with who we found. Kerry’s stroke of brilliance led us to Gabriella Reyes and Leah Hawkins of the Metropolitan Opera. We couldn’t have possibly picked anyone better to represent the brand in its first foray.
PP: How did you decide to work with Kerry?
SG: I was connected to Kerry through our stylist. We clicked immediately. I love being able to work with a woman photographer because there just aren’t many in fashion. Kerry brings a woman’s gaze to what is traditionally defined by a man’s point of view. And creatively her aesthetic is clean, sophisticated and high fashion—everything I could have imagined or wanted for our clothing.
PP: What was it like working with Kerry?
SG: Kerry is a genius. Full stop. I loved every minute of being on that set and seeing this dream come to life. That moment, so far, was the pinnacle of my career. We’ve been working on this (Pari Passu) for over a year and when we saw it come to life, my business partner, Ed, and I looked at each other and realized that this is really happening.
PP: You cast women that were first time models, what was that experience like?
SG: It was incredibly emotional for everyone. Especially the models. It was emotional because they had never seen themselves portrayed this way. They’re all very beautiful and accomplished and have all been celebrated for their talents, but none of them had ever been celebrated in this way just for being themselves.
PP: Do you think you’ll continue to cast real women in the future?
PP: After this experience, what might you hope to see on a larger scale across modeling industry?
SG: More representation of all kinds of bodies. Not just those that are considered classically model-esque.