I have a friend who’s a professional designer, Kate Abt. She’s amazing. 129K followers on Instagram. Not that the number of followers you have indicates your actual talent, but trust me when I tell you, she’s that good.
When she’s done the design on a home, she has it professionally photographed for her portfolio, but she stages it herself. Her trunk overflows with baskets, pillows, linens, platters, fruits, vegetables, flowers, cookies, and other props to create an atmosphere and tell a story in that space. The camera clicks, and she’s off to the next room, scooping piles of lemons and greenery as she goes..
This is not a new idea. Architecture and home decor magazines alway photograph spaces this way. When we look at magazines, we don’t want to see the house with the mail on the counter, fingerprints on the refrigerator, and dishes in the sink. We want the perfect home. We all want to live in the house that nobody lives in. We know it’s not real. It’s aspirational.
I’m thinking about this right now because the Custom Fit sweater class starts next month, and we’ve been talking about the sweater in Club Crazy for Ewe. Let me first say that I am a huge Custom Fit fan. I’ve knit a dozen Custom Fit sweaters, and I’m super happy with all of them. I believe that every woman, regardless of her size and shape should be able to knit a sweater she loves and is proud to wear. This is one of Crazy for Ewe’s core values, and Custom Fit helps make it a reality.
There are dozens of sweater designs in Custom Fit, but I will tell you that when I look through the collection of designs, none of them gets me excited. One of our members in Club Crazy for Ewe said as much last week. It’s not the sweaters themselves, but theimagesof the sweaters.
I think Amy’s heart was in the right place when she took those early shots. She wanted to show real women in her designs, which is great. The women all look nice in their sweaters, but they lack the polish that a wardrobe stylist and a professional photographer would have brought. Some of the designs have been re-knit, and re-photographed, and they look 100% better, but overall, the photos don't grab pull you in.
Other designers have fabulous images of not so awesome sweaters, so you have to be careful. We have to look past the artifice of some designer’s work with their glamorous and unrealistic atmospheres, just as we look past the hyper-realistic imperfection of Amy’s photos. We can’t get caught up in the trappings. At the end of the day, we each need to look not at the life that we imagine we’d have in any beautifully photographed sweater, or artfully staged outfit. We need to look at the shape, structure, and details and decide if we want to bring this sweater into the life we actually live.
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