After 15 years working in the Kid's fashion industry, Kate van der Hage has a great experience as a KIDS FASHION STYLIST and we are very happy we could arrange this interview with her!
1. Hello Kate, can you briefly present yourself and tell us about your professional background?
Hi, My name is Kate van der Hage, I’m a fashion stylist in the exciting world of kids fashion. I have been styling for over 15 years now. I started at Wallpaper magazine in 2002 in the fashion cupboard. It was literally a cupboard! After my degree I joined Junior magazine in 2004. After a few years working with Linda McLean at Junior, who taught me so much, I felt it was time to go freelance.
I enjoy working with a big range of different brands from smaller designers to larger well-known brands. I also enjoy the challenges that come with working with different age groups - newborns one day, teens the next and everything in between. I love getting to know the kids and helping to make them feel confident and enjoy the experience of taking pictures.
2. When did you join FOREVER YOUNG MAGAZINE? Can you tell us more about this project?
In 2017 Photographer Annie Bundfuss and Art Director Rosanna Pendleton asked me if I would like to become the magazine’s Fashion Editor. It’s online and across social for anyone with an interest in great children’s fashion.
We publish editorials by the industry’s best and showcase new creatives. It’s a platform for us to talk about new brands we’ve discovered and share them with everyone.
Our mission with the magazine is to present kids being kids. It goes without saying we’re super keen to promote ethical brands and sustainability as well as diversity.
3. You’re based in the UK, can you tell us how BREXIT and current LOCKDOWN is affecting the shootings?
It has been an interesting year for everyone obviously like nothing we have ever experienced. Trying to find a way through it, staying sane and being safe has been a challenge. Fortunately since June last year we have been able to work. The challenge has been how to do that safely. I have become a dab hand at a risk assessment, which has been an eye-opener. Everyone has worked very hard to ensure we are safe while working. Specifically it means less people on set and keeping a safe distance most importantly wearing the PPE. Wearing masks is difficult for the children to understand what you are saying sometimes which can be frustrating for everyone but it’s a small price to pay for keeping everyone safe. With babies under a year, masks are normal for them as it is all they have to know but children under 3 do find it strange, they are also much more clingy to their parents as they haven’t been able to be around other people. I do feel sad for these kids, each age group struggling in different ways. With school-age kids not being able to see their friends and the struggles with homeschooling.
We have been shooting more with siblings, I think is great as you really do get something special in a picture when the kids already have a bond. It is also a chance for the other children in a family to model with their brother or sister that do it more regularly. This is resulting in a more normal portrayal of children, I think is a really healthy thing.
Brexit, is the second crazy thing that has happened this year. It is crippling many small business who produce in Europe. Personally it has made it much more complicated to borrow samples, a lot of which come from press offices in Spain or France and all across Europe.
The virus has also meant that none of the trade shows have been happening which is sad for many reasons but the main one for me is that is the only time you actually see people: the designers and press officers. People you only see twice a year you get to actually meet and see the collections for the upcoming seasons.
I hope things will soon start to get easier on all accounts.
4. Can you name 3 trends for SS21? (And if you can illustrate with pictures from little-tag)
The trend: buying better and handing down. (cf. Bonmot Organic & Belle Chiara)
Brands with a conscience, Greta has us all thinking about the environment. A movement really led from the next generation.
As Vivienne Westwood says ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’ People want a brand to believe in.
I think fashion trends for ss21 have been hugely influenced by the year we have all had. In serious times we can turn to fashion for a bit of fun. It is a way to express yourself. To wear something that makes you happy. In these crazy times of lockdowns it can be the only thing freedom you have. The trend: wear clothes that make you happy. (cf.Coco au lait)
Of course we have all been home a lot so comfy clothes have been very important trend. The trend: comfy clothes. (cf. Mipounet)
The trend: be who you want to be. (cf. tinycottons)
Being different is no longer as scary as it used to be. Different is now celebrated and brands have responded to this creating collections that are for all. A shoot I did for FOREVER YOUNG last year we worked with a group of teens that were all so different but supportive of each other respecting each others choices it was really nice to see.
5. If you have any advice for someone who wants to start a brand in the kids' universe industry, what would it be?
I think the most important thing if you want to get to the fashion industry is work experience. Qualifications are great but there is nothing like getting actual experience. It not only proves how keen you are but what you can learn watching people do the job you want to do it invaluable. Learning the tricks of the trade. Even if you are just there to make the tea!