** This post was originally published on 3/15/2016. Some of the original content may have been edited.
Back in late January, I received a bright, peppy email from a local dress designer named Jenny, asking if I would model her dress collection. From her sweet language and use of adorable emojis, I was instantly intrigued. So naturally I looked her up on Instagram and...yep, this was DEFINITELY a project I wanted to be a part of.
Her feed was full of pinks and whites and a rainbow of pastels; of lace for days and bows bigger than my face. Little Mary Janes and satin and pearls rounded out her aesthetic, and I was hooked. While vintage fashion may not be a large component of my personal style, I do have a love for it. I mean, who doesn't just go on Modcloth all the time and diiiieeee over everything...I know I do! But besides that, this was one area of fashion that I hadn't really dived into before.
I'm such a girly girl. I love anything cutesy and frilly and yes, I love anything pink. I have a huge collection of hair bows that I love to wear, and nothing makes me happier than wearing a cute dress and a pair of heels. These designs definitely spoke to me, and made me all giddy inside. Like I said, these are so different from what I wear on a daily basis, but I LOVED them.
The shoot itself was so much fun. We shot up in the GORGEOUS Oakland Hills, where the view was incredible, and only added to the awesome experience. However, it wasn't all glitz and glamour...we definitely got dirty, and had some not-so-fun times that came with shooting outdoors.
But these not-so-fun moments are ones that we definitely were laughing at by the end of the shoot. The first of these was the dress changing. There weren't any bathrooms, so we either had to change while standing behind someone, or behind a tree, if we could. Also, those pictures of us smiling in the grass? The grass was wet and muddy and, between the smiling, all of us were (not so secretly) dying. Jenny helped place us into position, and once we were down, nobody moved. It was so cold and wet and sticky that we didn't want to move a muscle! Jenny had to take our shoes off for us and the makeup artist had to fix our hair while we were lying down. It was a little cringe-worthy in the moment, but looking back now, it's hilarious. All of us girls still giggle at it.
Speaking of the girls...ugh, they were definitely the best part. Never before have I met such a dedicated, driven, sweet, BEAUTIFUL set of women in one place. It was amazing to see all of us- who came from all over the Bay Area (minus one who flew in from NYC!)- come together for this project. One of the really cool things about meeting them was that nearly all the girls are bloggers, be it through an actual blog or just through Instagram. I'll leave all their links below, and I totally recommend you check out their pages.
Despite all the amazing (and funny) aspects of the shoot that I listed above, the thing that REALLY made me passionate about this project was Jenny's message with the collection. As you can undoubtedly tell from the photos, all the women are of different races, races that are not generally represented in vintage fashion. Instead of trying to explain Jenny's message in my own words, I'll leave a snippet of it, here:
“The Moving Castle Collection is about equality,” said Jennifer Baquing, the designer of the Moving Castle Collection. “In 2015, over 50% of children born in the United States were non-white. My collection aims to provide young women of color with mirrors of themselves in an industry dominated by white, Eurocentric beauty standards.”
Not only did I have the incredible opportunity of being involved in this beautiful collection, but I got to represent my fellow Indian women in the world of vintage fashion...which is something that I take a lot of honor in. I hope, like Jenny and all the other women in this collection do, that this inspires WOC to want to get involved in this subgenre of clothing.
I can't even begin to describe how beautiful of an experience this was. Everything about it has been so wonderful, and I'm so happy I said "yes" to that initial email nearly two months ago.
All the girl's social media links will be down below, as well as Jenny/She Loves Dresses' and the artists who designed the AH-FREAKING-DORABLE sketches above.
What do you all think of the shoot? Do you have a favorite dress? I'd love to hear your thoughts!